Radioactive Fuel to be Emptied from San Onofre Reactor

The operator of the San Onofre nuclear power plant is preparing to pull the radioactive fuel from one of its two shuttered reactors.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission senior inspector Gregory Warnick told The Associated Press on Monday that the fuel in the Unit 3 reactor will be moved into storage in mid-September.

It is another sign the Southern California plant won't be operating at full capacity anytime soon, if ever.

Last week, Southern California Edison announced that it was cutting 730 jobs from the plant, citing rising operational costs and uncertainty over the plant's future as an energy-generating company.

In January, the Unit 3 reactor was shut down as a precaution after a tube leak. Unit 2 was taken offline earlier that month. Neither units have been operational since.

“The reality is that the Unit 3 reactor will not be operating for some time,” SCE, which manages the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, stated last week in its announcement.

Federal regulators probed the plant to determine what happened to Unit 3 and how it could have been prevented. While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission commended the staff for their handling of the leak, they expressed concern over the design flaw that caused it.

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