San Onofre plant operator removes fuel from reactors
Fuel has been removed from the two reactors at the
idled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the plant operator announced
Southern California Edison reported that the removal of fuel assemblies
from reactor Units 2 and 3 was the last regulatory step before the utility
can retire its operating license for the troubled nuclear power plant on the
northern San Diego County coastline.
Faced with mounting and expensive regulatory hurdles, Edison announced
last month it would decommission the reactors, which have been inoperative
since a small, non-injury leak was discovered in January 2012. The leak
occurred in one reactor, and the other was shut down at the time for
“While we have safely performed this kind of defueling work for four
decades, the final removal of fuel from the Unit 2 reactor marks a significant
milestone in San Onofre's history,” said Pete Dietrich, SCE's senior vice
president and chief nuclear officer. “We are committed to remaining focused on
public health and safety as we transition through decommissioning.”
SCE officials said they have notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory
Commission that the fuel was removed and placed in a storage area to cool. The
removal operation was performed entirely under water, according to the utility.
Actually dismantling the facility's structure is expected to take a
couple of decades.