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Final San Onofre Steam Generator Being Moved To Utah

The last of four original steam generators being moved from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to Utah for storage will be trucked out beginning tonight, according to plant operators.

Southern California Edison, which operates the plant on the northern San Diego County coast, replaced the generators two years ago with equipment made by Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Two of the generators were moved to the storage facility in Clive, Utah, last year, while a third shipped out earlier this year.

The facility has been shut down since the end of January, when a leak was discovered in a steam tube in one of the reactors. The other reactor was already off-line for maintenance. Neither has been restarted.

Opponents of plans to get the reactors going again contend that regulators failed to take design changes by Mitsubishi into account.

Moving the original steam generators is no easy task. The 700,000-pound generator is fitted on a specially configured 400-foot-long truck for the three- week trip to Utah. Travel through California will take place at night, according to SCE.

The utility said the low level of radiation in the generator is roughly the same as a dental x-ray if someone were to stand within 5 to 10 feet for one hour.

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