Southern California Edison (SCE) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego will collaborate on a project to gather seismic data off the coast of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). The work, part of SCE’s seismic research projects for SONGS Units 2 and 3, will involve state-of-the-art data-gathering and analysis technologies, and will begin later this year and continue through 2013.
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. The raw and processed survey data will be open-source and available to other experts to view and use in further studies. This data will also be made available to the general public. Offshore seismic research is conducted with specially equipped boats that tow cables, or streamers, with underwater microphones at regular intervals. Two-dimensional seismic surveys usually have one streamer; three-dimensional surveys have four or more.
“Our number one priority is safety, and seismic safety plays an important role in our operations at the plant,” said Caroline McAndrews, SCE director of nuclear strategic projects. “Having Scripps take the lead on this important project will provide us with objective and world-class expertise in geophysics, and increase our understanding of SONGS’ seismic setting. This knowledge is key to ensuring the continued safe operation of SONGS.”
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. In addition, the geophysical surveys will reveal vertical motions of the crust through time, associated with margin reorganization.
Both units of the plant are currently safely shut down for inspections, analysis and tests. Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken off line Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in one of the unit’s steam generator tubes.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.
About Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today in 65 countries. The institution has a staff of about 1,400, and annual expenditures of approximately $170 million from federal, state and private sources. Scripps operates robotic networks, and one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration. Birch Aquarium at Scripps serves as the interpretive center of the institution and showcases Scripps research and a diverse array of marine life through exhibits and programming for more than 415,000 visitors each year. Learn more at scripps.ucsd.edu.