Fuel removed from shuttered San Onofre reactor

Nuclear Plant Problems

Grant Hindsley/AP

In this July 19, 2012 photo surfers walk along a beach nearby the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in San Onofre, Calif.

Workers at the San Onofre nuclear power plant have finished removing highly radioactive fuel from its Unit 2 reactor, marking a milestone as the plant fades into early retirement.           

Southern California Edison announced last month it was closing the twin-reactor plant between Los Angeles and San Diego. That ended a long and costly battle with environmentalists over whether it was safe to operate.

Removing the fuel clears the way for operator Edison to formally surrender the plant's operating license to federal regulators.

The fuel was removed earlier from the other reactor.           

San Onofre hasn't produced electricity since January 2012, when a small radiation leak led to the discovery of excessive wear to tubes that carry radioactive water in the plant's steam generators.

The fuel will be stored in protective casks.

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