Southern California Edison addressing small hydrogen leak

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Oct. 22, 2012 — Southern California Edison (SCE) will replace a small pipe fitting at its shutdown San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station after routine maintenance found a small hydrogen leak in the pipe.

The leak does not pose a safety risk to workers or the public. The leak is in a Unit 2 pipe fitting near the turbine building, which is the non-nuclear side of the generating facility.

SCE submitted an event report Sunday to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The utility also notified the California Emergency Management Agency and the San Diego Department of Environmental Health.

Since there is air flow around the pipe, the hydrogen is dissipating rather than accumulating. Hydrogen is a clear, odorless and tasteless gas that is lighter than air, so it rises into the air and dissipates.

The pipe maintenance is unrelated to required equipment testing that began last week using a temporary boiler to produce steam in the non-nuclear portions of Unit 2.

Both units of the San Onofre plant are currently safely shut down. Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in a steam generator tube.