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NRC PROPOSES FINE AGAINST SAN ONOFRE UNIT 1, EDISON REPORTS

 NRC PROPOSES FINE AGAINST SAN ONOFRE UNIT 1, EDISON REPORTS
 ROSEMEAD, Calif., Feb. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Edison today reported that it would not contest a $50,000 civil penalty proposed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a result of incorrect maintenance performed in 1988 on the fire extinguisher for an electrical switchgear room at San Onofre Unit 1.
 A company spokesman said the error, which would have prevented the extinguisher from fully discharging its contents in the event of a fire in the room, was discovered by Edison and reported to the NRC in July 1991. Since Edison was unaware of the error until it was discovered in 1991, a continuous firewatch was not posted as required when the fire extinguisher was not in service.
 An Edison spokesman stated that the problem did not pose a significant hazard to plant employees of the public as fire detection remained in service. In addition, Edison maintains a fully-qualified fire department at the plant site at all times as a back-up to installed fire extinguishing equipment.
 Nevertheless, the spokesman said that Edison considers the error to be a serious departure from its strict standards for plant operation and maintenance. Corrective measures, including changes to procedures for maintenance of fire extinguishers such as the one in the reported incident, are in place, the spokesman reported.
 Although no fire occurred during the period when the capability of the fire extinguisher was reduced by the maintenance error and the backup fire-fighting capability was maintained, the NRC concluded that the level of plant safety was reduced in violation of the technical specifications for plant operation. Edison does not disagree with the NRC's conclusion.
 In proposing the civil penalty, the NRC also concluded that Edison's initial report concerning the maintenance error did not address information concerning the availability of a backup system which the NRC considered important to its evaluation. This information was provided by Edison in a revision to the report.
 -0- 2/21/92
 /CONTACT: David Barron of Southern California Edison, 818-302-2255/ CO: Southern California Edison ST: California IN: UTI SU:


KJ -- LA021 -- 1608 02/21/92 19:44 EST
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Date:Feb 21, 1992
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