The San Onofre nuclear station in southern California shut down one of its units as sensors detected a possible leak Tuesday evening.
The Southern California Edison (SCE), operator of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) south of San Clemente, announced that it has begun a precautionary shutdown of the Unit 3 because sensors detected a possible leak in one of the unit’s steam generator tubes.
An SCE statement said, “The potential leak poses no imminent danger to the public or plant workers. There has been no release to the atmosphere.”
The SONGS said through Twitter that “The possible leak is inside the containment dome, no release into the atmosphere,” and “No imminent danger to public.” The Unit 3 was shut down at around 5:30 p.m. (01:30 GMT, Wednesday).
The SCE said the cause of the leak is under investigation and the repair work will follow before it resumes operation. The company has reported the incident to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The San Onofre is jointly owned by the SCE (78.21 percent), San Diego Gas & Electric (20 percent), and the city of Riverside (1.79 percent). The nuclear station is Southern California’s largest source of electricity. Its two units can generate 2,200 megawatts of power, enough to meet the needs of 1.4 million average homes at a point in time.
The SCE said Unit 2 in the station is currently offline for a planned maintenance, refueling and technology upgrade outage. But the company said it has ample reserve power to meet customer needs while Unit 3 is offline.
The SCE is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, serving a population of nearly 14 million in central, coastal and southern California.
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