San Onofre shutdown won't affect Diablo Canyon, officials say

dsneed@thetribunenews.comJune 13, 2013 

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Officials with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. say the permanent closure of San Onofre nuclear generating station in Southern California will have little effect on Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The two nuclear plants are owned by different public utilities, and the design flaw in the steam generators that caused San Onofre to be permanently shuttered is not a problem at Diablo Canyon, said Blair Jones, plant spokesman.

PG&E may be able to hire some former San Onofre employees with specialized skills such as reactor operators. But it is much too early to tell how that will play out, Jones said.

Southern California Edison, owner of the San Onofre plant, said it will lay off most of the plant’s 1,500 employees this year. Some 400 employees will be kept on to close and decommission the plant.

The San Onofre plant was shut down in January 2012 when it was discovered that a small amount of radiation had leaked from one of the plant’s steam generators.

Steam generators are large bundles of tubes that transfer heat from the nuclear reactors to the electrical generators. The steam generators at San Onofre are of a different design and manufactured by a different company than those used at Diablo Canyon.

Southern California Edison this week announced that it is abandoning plans to restart the two reactors at San Onofre. Since the incident at San Onofre, the steam generators at Diablo Canyon have been inspected and they do not have any leakage problems, Jones said.

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