An electrical fire at San Onofre 3 on 3 February forced the reactor to be taken off-line. The reactor is expected to remain down for several weeks.

The reactor had recently been returned to service after being down for 32 days for refuelling and scheduled maintenance. Plant officials had allotted 45 days for the work, but it was completed ahead of schedule. The malfunction took place in the turbine hall, and was not associated with any of the areas that had been serviced.

The fire appears to have been caused by a faulty breaker in the transformer room. The fire was extinguished in 30 minutes. Beacuse the fire lasted for over 15 minutes, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting an investigation. It is expected to report in 30-60 days.

Ray Golden a spokesman for Southern California Edison, the plant operator, said that no radiation was released and no-one was injured. “It was not a danger to any of the employees or the public. However, there was damage done. We have to go in and replace what can’t be repaired and repair the rest.”