Nuclear regulators send inspection team to San Onofre
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will send an augmented inspection team to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to review the circumstances that led three tubes to fail a pressure test this week.
Southern California Edison officials Wednesday said three steam generator tubes in Unit 3 at the plant just south of San Clemente failed the stress tests. The utility was required to notify the commission of the failures, Edison officials said in a statement.
The failures indicate the tubes are more likely to rupture during “certain plant events that affect the pressure inside the steam generator,” commission officials said in a statement. The tubes provide an added barrier inside the containment building to prevent a radioactive steam release.
While some wear on the tubes is normal, the level of wear on the tubes in Unit 3 is “unusual,” officials said.
The unit has been shut down since Jan. 31 when station operators detected a leak in one of the steam generator tubes. Unit 2 is also currently off line for inspections, officials said.
The federal team will travel to San Onofre in the coming days, officials said.
-- Paloma Esquivel
Photo: The San Onofre nuclear plant. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times