San Onofre drill planned

City News Service

Radiation experts and emergency workers from Los Angeles to the Mexican border will pretend that a major radioactive gas leak has occurred at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station next week.

The test is regularly-scheduled, but occurs as a major meltdown is threatened at an earthquake-crippled reactor complex in Japan, 5,500 miles across the sea.

The California Emergency Management Agency will coordinate the test at the two nuclear reactors starting Tuesday, and concluding Thursday.

Southern California Edison spokesman Gil Alexander told the San Diego Union-Tribune that workers will test emergency shut-down procedures, and practice securing radioactive fuel rods.

"There are a total of about 200 of us associated with the plant that will drill,'" Alexander told the San Diego newspaper. Half of those will drill on plant procedures, and the other half will work on a pretend radiation leak with government officials, the news media and the general public.

San Onofre's two reactors generate 2.1 billion watts of electricity when operating at full capacity. Both units were returned to 99 percent operations this year, after extensive rebuilding projects.

Emergency and public health workers from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties will participate in the drill.

   
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