Reactor at California Nuclear Plant Shut Down After Fire : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Feb 5, 2001 - 07:47 AM

Reactor at California Nuclear Plant Shut Down After Fire The Associated Press

SAN ONOFRE, Calif. (AP) - A fire shut down a nuclear reactor at the San Onofre power plant just 12 hours after it had been restored to service, a utility spokesman said. The fire in an electrical switching room caused the reactor to shut down automatically Saturday afternoon. No radiation was released and no one was injured, said Ray Golden, a spokesman for Southern California Edison, the San Diego County plant's majority owner and operator.

"Everything did as exactly as it was designed to," Golden said Sunday.

A short in the plant's power supply may have sparked the fire, which damaged several large equipment cabinets and an outside transformer, he said. No damage estimate was immediately available.

The blaze broke out 12 hours after operators powered up the reactor for the first time since it was taken off-line on Jan. 2 for scheduled maintenance and refueling. The reactor was operating at 40 percent capacity.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze in about 30 minutes.

Repairs and inspections could keep the reactor off-line for several weeks or longer, which could compound California's ongoing electricity crisis, Golden said.

A second reactor continues to produce electricity. At full power, each of the plant's reactors generates 1,120 megawatts, enough to power 1.1 million homes and businesses.

The shutdown was classified an "unusual event," requiring plant operators to alert federal, state and local officials.

-- Carl Jenkins (, February 05, 2001


With sub-freezing temps forecast for tomorrow night here in the PNW, there will be precious little e-juice to spare to send south to California, I reckon. This could be another week with sporadic rolling blackouts in Northern Cal.


-- Squirrel Hunter (nuts@up[ina.cellrelaytower), February 05, 2001.

Bummer! Thought utilities like SoCal Ed and PG&E were supposed to have sold off their generating facilities in that half-baked restructuring. Is there some fine print lurking in there allowing exceptions?

-- Warren Ketler (, February 05, 2001.

UPDATE 1-Calif. San Onofre nuke unit seen down "several weeks" Monday February 5, 1:05 PM EST

LOS ANGELES, Feb 5 (Reuters) - A small fire at the 1,080 megawatt Unit 3 at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in southern California is expected to shut it down for several weeks, a plant spokesman said on Monday.

While the operator of the plant, Southern California Edison (SCE), acknowledged the outage is not good news for a state in the grips of a severe power shortage, it stressed that the fire caused no injuries and posed no radiation risks whatsoever.

"Our initial forecast is that the plant will be down for several weeks," said Ray Golden, an SCE spokesman.

An electrical fault sparked a small fire in an electrical cabinet in the early hours of Saturday morning. The fire damaged some equipment including electrical breakers which will have to be replaced.

"No one was injured, there was no release of radiation and no impact on the public," Golden said.

The fire was a major blow to the already power-starved state. When operating at full capacity the unit provides enough electricity to power more than one million homes.

It was also another setback for SCE, which has been driven to the brink of bankruptcy by soaring wholesale electricity prices which it cannot currently pass on to its 11 million customers under the terms of California's much criticized power deregulation legislation.

California remained in its highest level of alert on Monday, the so- called stage three emergency which raises the threat of rolling blackouts.

The unit had just returned to service after a refueling outage when the fire occurred and was operating below full capacity, producing about 380 MW of electricity.

The outage, which began on January 2, had been planned to last 45 days and the unit was in the process of returning to service well ahead of schedule.

"We are disappointed. We had completed the outage ahead of schedule. That would have helped California's electrical needs. We will do what we can to get the plant back as soon as possible but obviously safety is the first priority," SCE spokesman Golden.

SCE is a unit of Edison International (EIX).

The adjacent 1,070 MW Unit 2 at the plant was not impacted and is continuing to operate at full power, Golden said.

The San Onofre nuclear power complex is located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean between Los Angeles and San Diego, and is adjacent to Camp Pendleton, the U.S. Marine Base.

SCE owns 75 percent of the plant while Sempra Energy (SRE) unit San Diego Gas & Electric has a 20 percent stake. The balance is owned by the cities of Anaheim and Riverside. n0582369&feed=reu&date=20010205&cat=INDUSTRY

-- Martin Thompson (, February 06, 2001.

Repairs at nuclear reactor to last through at least mid-May

SAN ONOFRE, Calif. (AP) -- A nuclear reactor at the San Onofre power plant that was damaged by an electrical fire will be out of service at least through mid-May.

The fire, which started in an electrical switching room, caused "extensive damage" to the turbine rotors, bearings and other components in one of the plant's two reactors, according to a report filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Southern California Edison.

Publicly traded companies must report to the commission anything that could substantially affect future earnings. Southern California Edison is the majority owner of the San Onofre plant.

The Feb. 3 fire caused the reactor to shut down automatically. No radiation was released and no one was injured. A second reactor continues to produce electricity.

Edison expects the damaged unit will return to service sometime between mid-May and mid-June. The company will lose between $80 million and $100 million in revenue depending on when operations return to normal, according to the SEC filing.

At full power, the plant in northern San Diego County generates 1,120 megawatts, enough to power 1.1 million homes and businesses.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 17, 2001.

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