Local expert describes science behind implosions

South Bay Power Plant to be imploded Feb. 2

As Chula Vista officials anxiously await the implosion of the South Bay Power Plant, a local expert weighs in on the upcoming event.
On Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7 a.m., crews from Oklahoma-based Dykon will implode what remains of the 53-year-old power plant.
San Diego State University Construction and Engineering Department head Ken Walsh, Ph.D., said said an implosion is a lot safer to the alternative of crews removing the plant piece by piece.
"It actually exposes workers to more safety risks because they're at height in the structure where things can fall on them," said Walsh.
An implosion is also cheaper.
"You're using gravity to do all the demolition work instead of having to cut and jackhammer all the pieces," he added.
However, crews did have to manually remove the plant's seismic reinforcements.
"A lot of that reinforcement has to come out or else it would hold the building up after you blast it," said Walsh.
Saturday's event is the first implosion in San Diego County since the Hotel San Diego was taken down in 2006. 
Months have gone into planning this implosion, and crews removed more than 24,000 tons of materials to be recycled.
The Port of San Diego invites members of the public to witness the implosion of the South Bay Power Plant at 7 a.m. on Feb. 2. Click to here for a map of the public viewing area.
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