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San Onofre reports problems with backup generator

Incident constituted an 'unusual event,' but posed no risk to public safety.

December 15, 2009|By Robert J. Lopez

A backup generator failed to start over the weekend at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, triggering a low-level emergency known as an "unusual event," Southern California Edison said Monday.

The diesel generator failed to fire up during a test early Saturday but posed no risk to public safety, the utility said.

An "unusual event" could lower plant safety but does not result in the release of radioactive materials, the utility said. Southern California Edison was required to report the incident to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said Gil Alexander, a spokesman for the utility.

The backup generator is used to provide power to several systems in the plant when other sources of power are lost.

As a precaution, plant operators began reducing the output of Unit 3 about 2 a.m. Saturday.

The backup unit was repaired and tested about 8 a.m., Alexander said.

Unit 2 was off-line Monday for planned refueling and maintenance, the utility said.

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