Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair Visited San Onofre Plant

The visit comes as inspectors investigate unusual wear on steam generator tubes

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station got a visit Friday from the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as inspectors continue to investigate unusual wear in steam generator tubes.

The problem was discovered Jan. 31, leading to an immediate shutdown of that unit at the plant located about 70 miles south of Los Angeles.

"They are going to be discussing the issues of the steam generators,"  said agency spokesman Victor Dricks.

Chairman Gregory Jaczko toured the plant with Democratic Sen. Dianne  Feinstein and Republican Rep. Darrell Issa. The tour included a first-hand look at the facility's sea wall.

An advocacy group conducted a protest on a bluff just north of the plant. The group called for a closure of the plant. One of the demonstrators held a sign that read, "No Fukushima Here," a reference to the site of last year's meltdown that followed a tsunami.

The plant operates two units, and each unit has thousands of the steam generator tubes. They act as barriers between the radioactive and non-radioactive sides of the plant, which will remain offline until inspectors determine what's behind the erosion.

Unit 3 was taken offline in January because of excessive wear in the tubes. Unit 2 was taken offline for planned maintenance Jan. 9 and remains offline.

Unit 1 has not been in operation since the early 1990s.

Regulators outlined in a letter the steps that must be taken before the reactors can go back online.

Officials have said there is no danger to workers or plant neighbors.

Follow NBCSanDiego for the latest news, weather, and events: iPhone App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts

View Larger Map

Contact Us