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San Onofre steam generators shipped

The San Onofre nuclear plant in Sept

The last of four old steam generators from the San Onofre nuclear plant will head to a site in Utah for disposal this week.

Two of the steam generators were shipped to Clive, Utah, last year and another was transported last month. The final steam generator is scheduled to be trucked out Wednesday night, according to plant operator Southern California Edison.

The plant has been out of service for 10 months because of defects in the replacement steam generators installed in 2010 and 2011, which led to small amounts of radiation leaking from a tube in January.

The old steam generator awaiting shipment drew attention last week when it disrupted the plans of a group of Buddhist monks who planned to march to the plant Friday and launch a six-day vigil there to call for decommissioning. The monks changed their plans after a local activist, Gene Stone, said his portable Geiger counter detected a surge in radiation near the plant due to the steam generator awaiting shipment. They instead took up their vigil in nearby San Clemente.

Edison said in a statement that the steam generator was packaged to meet all federal requirements and the radiation dose rate of the shipment at two meters -- 3.7 millirems per hour -- is well below the legal limit of 10 millirems per hour. The company said radiation exposure from standing 6 feet from the assembly for an hour would be equivalent to a dental X-ray.

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-- Abby Sewell

Photo: The San Onofre nuclear plant in September. Credit: Gregory Bull / Associated Press

 
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