San Onofre to remain offline for probe - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Onofre to remain offline for probe

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This file photo taken June 30, 2011, shows beach-goers walking on the sand near the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente , Calif. (AP Photo, Lenny Ignelzi, File) This file photo taken June 30, 2011, shows beach-goers walking on the sand near the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente , Calif. (AP Photo, Lenny Ignelzi, File)

SAN ONOFRE (CNS) - Southern California Edison officials Wednesday were considering contingency plans in case the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station cannot be fully operational for the summer.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered Edison in a letter Tuesday to keep the power plant offline until the troubles with the plant are fully diagnosed and corrected.

Among possible contingency plans under consideration Wednesday is the idea of buying power from another source and encouraging more conservation among customers, said Edison spokeswoman Jennifer Manfre.

"Right now it is March so we have some time to come up with some contingency plans," she said.

Unit 3 of the plant south of San Clemente has been shut down since Jan. 31, when station operators detected a leak in one of its steam generator tubes. Its two steam generators are undergoing extensive testing and inspections so their conditions can be assessed and the cause of the leak identified.

Unit 2 was taken down for planned maintenance Jan. 9.

San Onofre operates only two units; Unit 1 was shut down in 1992.

An inspection team from the NRC has been at the plant, which is operated by Edison, overseeing the repair and inspection work.

The Friends of the Earth organization hired Fairewinds Associates, a firm that specializes in nuclear engineering and safety analysis, to review the San Onofre plant. The Fairewinds report accuses Edison of a lack of transparency about the problems and blames the utility for making modifications that led to the leaks. Edison executives deny the allegations.

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