Two units that were shut down last week at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station amid safety concerns will be back to full power by this weekend, according to Arizona Public Service. The utility shut down units 2 and 3 at the 3,800 MW plant after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission raised concerns about whether the emergency cooling system would operate in the event of an accident. Unit 1 was already down for significant construction. Shutdown of the major nuclear plant, which sends 27 percent of its electricity to California, required the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to spend almost $300,000 a day to replace lost power. LADWP owns 5.7 percent of the plant, which supplies 11 percent of its electricity needs. Taking the units off line "demonstrates our full commitment to safe operation," said Jim Levine, Arizona Public Service executive vice-president. After inspecting the plant earlier this month, the NRC was worried that under certain conditions an air lock could prevent the emergency system from automatically cooling the reactor core in the event of a loss-of-cooling accident. The thinking was that the utility would have to either modify the system or assign somebody to monitor and operate it manually if there was an accident (Circuit, Oct. 14, 2005. However, while the utility could not immediately demonstrate to the NRC that the system would operate correctly under all imaginable accident scenarios, it continued to analyze the problem. That analysis eventually showed that the emergency cooling system will work in all "postulated scenarios," said Jim McDonald, Arizona Public Service spokesperson. NRC spokesperson Victor Dricks did not return phone calls from Circuit before press time. The Palo Verde shutdown was one of many plant closures that forced the California Independent System Operator to declare a stage 1 electrical emergency in Southern California October 14. Temperatures soared into the 90s that day under Santa Ana conditions. "We were seeing a high level of plant outages, which is typical for this time of the year," said Gregg Fishman, CAISO spokesperson. He noted that many operators routinely shut plants for maintenance as the warm season winds down. Southern California Edison owns a 15.8 percent share of the Palo Verde plant and the Southern California Public Power Authority a 5.9 percent share.