Marine life revival off San Onofre’s shores via San Diego Union-Tribune

Before a small radiation leak shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in early 2012, ocean pipes drew in 2.4 billion gallons of water a day to cool twin nuclear reactors, sucking in and killing fish, larvae and eggs by the tons.

Casualties each year included dozens of sea lions and harbor seals.

Water leaving the plant kicked up a turbid plume of sediment that blocked sunlight from the adjacent San Onofre kelp forest, once habitat for a rich assortment of sea life.

With the decision to permanently close the plant, the flow of ocean water has slowed to a relative trickle — 4 percent of its previous volume.

As a result, marine scientists suspect an ecological revival is under way just below the ocean’s surface. The reduced demand for cooling water means vastly fewer organisms are being pinned against filtering screens or killed as they are swept through the plant.

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