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ROSEMEAD, Calif., March 15, 2012 — Southern California Edison's (SCE) San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), which is safely shut down for inspections and testing, had four additional Unit 3 steam generator tubes fail today during a pressure stress test known as "in-situ testing." Three tubes failed the “in-situ testing” on Wednesday. Unit 3 has been shut down since Jan. 31 when it was safely taken off line after station operators detected a leak in one of the unit's steam generator tubes.
Additionally, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced today that it will send an Augmented Inspection Team to the plant to perform inspections of SONGS Unit 3 equipment. SONGS welcomes the involvement of the augmented NRC team, which is anticipated to begin its inspections on Monday.
Following industry standards and requirements, SCE immediately notified the NRC of the tube test failures. SCE engineers and industry experts are on site to assist and oversee the ongoing testing process. There are 19,454 steam generator tubes in Unit 3. SCE is conducting "in-situ" tests on 129, or approximately 1 percent of those tubes, which show higher than normal wear.
"Tests at a nuclear plant are designed to detect potential safety issues, and these tests serve that purpose," said Ron Litzinger, president of SCE, which operates the plant as the majority owner. "Our tube testing plan, in accordance with industry standards, is designed to help us understand the potential safety implications and significance of this situation."
Both Unit 3 and Unit 2 are off line at this time. The two Unit 3 steam generators currently are undergoing extensive testing and inspections so SONGS engineers can fully assess their condition, as well as the cause of the Jan. 31 leak and the observed tube wear. Unit 2 was taken out of service for a planned outage on Jan. 9. The scheduled and additional inspections and maintenance on Unit 2 are nearly completed. Repairs were made through plugging, in accordance with industry guidelines and protocols, of tubes found during the inspections that showed wear or susceptibility to wear.
SCE is committed to the safe operation of SONGS and will not return the plant’s generating units to service until the company is satisfied it is safe to do so.
Nineteen percent of all power used by SCE customers comes from nuclear generation.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.