By David Schwartz
PHOENIX (Reuters) - A contractor arriving for work at the nation's largest nuclear plant was arrested early on Friday after suggesting that he had a bomb in his car, authorities said.
The man, who has not been identified, is in custody after causing a roughly five-hour lockdown of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, west of downtown Phoenix, said Sgt. Jesse Spurgin, a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman.
"Our bomb squad has just cleared the vehicle and no explosives were found," Spurgin told Reuters. "There was no danger to the plant. Everything is fine."
Spurgin told Reuters the man faces possible felony charges.
Authorities said that the man was undergoing a routine inspection at about 12:45 local time and made an "off-handed remark" that he had a bomb in his car.
Sheriff's deputies were called and no one was allowed in or out of the plant, Spurgin said. He said the gate is about 1,000 feet from any plant operations.
The triple-reactor plant is operated by Arizona Public Service Co., which owns a 29.1 percent share of the plant. Others are Edison International's Southern California Edison (15.8 percent), El Paso Electric Co (15.8 percent), PNM Resources Inc.'s Public Service Co. of New Mexico (10.2 percent), Southern California Public Power Authority (5.9 percent), and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (5.7 percent).
(Editing by Greg McCune)