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San Onofre nuclear power plant unit shut down as leak is repaired

February 1, 2012 |  7:47 pm

San Onofre nuclear power plant reported a leak in a steam generator tube

Crews at the San Onofre nuclear power plant were working Wednesday evening to repair a leaking tube in a steam generator in an incident that officials said posed no danger to the public.

Operators at the facility were cooling the unit where the leak was detected and reducing pressure in the plant, which is a method to stop the tube from leaking, Southern California Edison said.

The incident began about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after a sensor detected what Edison officials described as a potential leak. It was later determined that a leak did occur, but Edison officials said they acted promptly and safely shut down the plant.

As of Wednesday evening, monitoring instruments showed no change in radiation levels that would be detectable off site, the utility said in a statement.

"There was no threat then, nor is there now any danger to the public or to plant workers," said Pete Dietrich, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer for Southern California Edison. "Our operators performed exactly as they are trained to perform and took prompt action to ensure we did not create a situation involving any challenge to the health and safety of the public."

The facility's other unit was offline Wednesday evening for planned maintenance, refueling and a technology upgrade. But the utility said it had ample reserve power to meet all customer needs.


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Photo: San Onofre nuclear power plant in April 2011. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times