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Calif. mulls fate of closed nuclear plant
Overseers of California’s power grid say they have a contingency plan to get Southern California through next summer without a shutdown nuclear power plant.
The shutdown of the San Onofre plant because of unexpected wear on tubes carrying radioactive water in its four recently replaced steam generators has already lasted more than seven months, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
The outage forced energy officials to replace its 2,200 megawatts of power — enough to power about 1.4 million homes — in the heat of the summer by re-starting two retired generating units at a natural gas plant in Huntington Beach.
That option won’t be available next summer because their air emission credits will be given to another plant after October, officials said.
However, under a plan put forward by the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state’s power grid, the Huntington Beach units would be converted into synchronous condensers, which instead of generating power would help move power through the grid.
Southern California Edison, operator of the San Onofre plant, plans to submit a restart plan for one of the two reactor units by early October, but the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would need to review and approve the plan, a process that could take months, the Times reported.
The plant’s second reactor, which had the worst of the tube damage, will remain shut down indefinitely, the newspaper said.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International