SoCal Edison, UC San Diego study earthquake risks near San Onofre nuclear plant

San Onofre Nuclear Plant

Grant Slater/KPCC

A runner passes by the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant on April 6, 2012. Researchers at UC San Diego are working with Southern California Edison to study earthquake risks near the San Onofre nuclear plant.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego are working with Southern California Edison to study earthquake risks near the San Onofre nuclear plant.

For the offshore research, scientists with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will use specially-equipped boats that tow cables (or "streamers") with underwater microphones at regular intervals.

The boats and other equipment allow them to create images of existing and potential faults off the coast in what they say is “unprecedented resolution.”

“They’re going to go out and collect the data [and] it’s going to be in an open and transparent manner," said Caroline McAndrews of SoCal Edison. "That data will be publicly available. When we get the results, we will then analyze it and take the necessary steps.”

McAndrews said the research will begin later this year and continue through next year.

The study comes as anti-nuclear activists continue raising concerns about the possibility of an earthquake causing a Fukushima-like disaster at the San Onofre nuclear plant.

The facility has been offline since January 31 due to problems with unusual tube wear in both steam generators.

Inspectors from Southern California Edison and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are trying to figure out the cause of the problem.

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