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Three tubes fail testing at San Onofre nuclear plant

March 14, 2012 |  8:26 pm

San Onofre nuclear power station

Three steam generator tubes in Unit 3 at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station have failed a pressure stress test, Southern California Edison officials said Wednesday.

Unit 3 has been shut down since Jan. 31 because of a leak in a steam generator tube at the plant just south of the Orange County line in northern San Diego County.

The utility notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the testing failures, according to an agency statement.

“Engineers and industry experts are on site to assist and oversee the ongoing testing process,” officials said, adding that the type of trial is known as “in-situ testing.”

The agency is testing 129 of 19,454 steam generator tubes in Unit 3 because those tubes show higher than normal wear.

“Tests at a nuclear plant are designed to detect potential safety issues, and these tests serve that purpose,” said Edison President Ron Litzinger. “Our tube testing plan, in accordance with industry standards, is designed to help us understand the safety issues and significance of this situation.”

Both Units 2 and 3 are off line, officials said, and two steam generators in Unit 3 are “undergoing extensive testing and inspections in order to fully assess their condition, as well as the cause of the Jan. 31 leak and the observed tube wear.” 


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San Onofre nuclear power plant still shut down a week after leak

-- Ari Bloomekatz

Twitter.com/Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: The San Onofre nuclear plant. Credit: Allen J. Schaben  / Los Angeles Times