Seismic research project to take place near nuclear power plant

Southern California Edison (SCE) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego said they will collaborate on a project to gather seismic data off the coast near the two-unit, 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). The work, part of SCE’s seismic research projects for SONGS Units 2 and 3, will involve data-gathering and analysis technologies.

Scripps scientists will lead the project, which will include collecting and processing data from 2-D and 3-D multichannel seismic reflection and refraction off San Onofre State Beach. Offshore seismic research is conducted with specially equipped boats that tow cables, or streamers, with underwater microphones at regular intervals.

Besides evaluating the existing and potential faults in the area, the seismic reflection and refraction surveys will image the offshore structures at an unprecedented resolution, and will allow scientists to test between the alternative hypotheses for the tectonic deformation observed off San Onofre.

Both units at SONGS are currently shut down for inspections, analysis and tests. Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. Unit 3 was taken offline Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in one of the unit’s steam generator tubes.

The research project will begin later this year and continue through 2013.

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