SoCal Edison, the utility that operates the San Onofre nuclear plant, misled federal regulators about equipment changes that are the likely cause of extensive wear on tubing that carries radioactive water, according to a report produced for nuclear watchdog group Friends of Earth and obtained by the Associated Press.
The report by nuclear consultants Fairewinds Associates warns that a more detailed study is needed on tubing in the plant's steam generators before the twin reactors near San Diego are restarted. It concludes that equipment and design changes to the massive generators "created a large risk of tube failure."
According to the report, since the alterations, the plant has "experienced extraordinarily rapid degradation of their steam generator tubes," it said, adding that such rapid wear can raise the potential for an accident that could release radioactivity.
SoCal Edison says through a spokeswoman the company will not comment until the report had been reviewed. The plant is owned by SoCal Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and the City of Riverside.
Earlier this year, tubes inside a new steam generator at the plant began showing unusual and potentially dangerous signs of deterioration. Since then, the plant has been offline, leading to some worries about this summer's power supply.