New steam generators in place at SONGS

22 February 2011

Southern California Edison (SCE) announced that the reconnection to the grid of unit 3 of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) "signals the safe, successful completion of a massive ten-year construction project - replacing the plant's largest components, its steam generators." The company decided to replace the steam generators of the 1070 MWe unit 2 and 1100 MWe unit 3 pressurised water reactors at the SONGS plant after a cost-benefit study showed that the modernization would save customers some $1 billion during the plant's current licence period, which runs until 2022. The steam generators of unit 2 were replaced in 2009. Each of the four new steam generators measure approximately 20 metres in length, seven metres in diameter and weigh some 580 tonnes. Replacing the steam generators involved cutting a temporary hole in the side of the two reactor containment buildings. SCE said that the construction process used to reseal the buildings "created domes of equal or greater strength." The total cost of the project was $671 million. SCE anticipates applying to extend the plant's operating licence in 2013.