LOS ANGELES Nov 30 Southern California Edison
said an emergency generator at one of its San Onofre nuclear
reactors may have been tampered with, prompting the utility to
beef up security at the plant, which has been out of service
since January due to a leak in a steam generator.
In a statement on Thursday, the Edison International
unit said it discovered engine coolant in an oil system in the
backup diesel generator in late October during routine
monitoring. An internal probe found evidence of potential
tampering, though it could not be confirmed.
The presence of coolant posed no safety risk, the company
The news is the latest blow to San Onofre's majority owner,
which earlier this month said the cost of the prolonged outage
at the damaged nuclear power plant has topped $317 million. San
Onofre's Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors have been shut down since
January after operators discovered a leak in a steam generator
tube in Unit 3.
The investigation into the potential tampering is ongoing,
the utility said, adding that it has enhanced security at the
nuclear power plant that sits on the Southern California coast
about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego.
The company informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of
the issue on Oct. 30 and told the agency of the potential
tampering on Nov. 27.
NRC officials were not immediately available for comment.
Last month, Southern California Edison submitted a plan to
the NRC to restart Unit 2 and operate it at 70 percent of
capacity for an initial five-month period, at which point it
would halt production and look for signs of the premature
tube-to-tube wear that led to the leak.
A meeting between the utility and the NRC to discuss the
restart plan is scheduled for later on Friday in Laguna Hills,