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South County : San Onofre Reactor Shut Down by Leak

One of the three reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was shut down at noon Friday after workers discovered a leaky water pump, part of the reactor’s backup cooling system, according to Southern California Edison Co.

Edison officials declared an “unusual event,” the least serious of four emergency categories. Officials said no workers were endangered and no radiation was released.

The leak in the Unit 3 reactor--about 1 gallon per minute from a pump that handles 4,000 gallons per minute--was discovered during a test of the system, which would be used to cool the reactor if the main cooling system failed.

The reactor is expected to remain out of service for a week, said Rebecca Sordelet, an Edison spokeswoman. The reactor normally generates 1,100 megawatts of power, enough to serve a population of 1 million, she said.

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“There’s plenty of capacity in the Edison system to make up for that,” Sordelet said. “Customers won’t notice any difference.”

The generating station is at San Onofre, about two miles south of San Clemente.


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