LOS ANGELES (AP) — Workers at the San Onofre nuclear power plant have finished removing highly radioactive fuel from its Unit 2 reactor, marking a milestone as the plant fades into early retirement.

Southern California Edison announced last month it was closing the twin-reactor plant between Los Angeles and San Diego. That ended a long and costly battle with environmentalists over whether it was safe to operate.

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Removing the fuel clears the way for operator Edison to formally surrender the plant’s operating license to federal regulators.

The fuel was removed earlier from the other reactor.

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San Onofre hasn’t produced electricity since January 2012, when a small radiation leak led to the discovery of excessive wear to tubes that carry radioactive water in the plant’s steam generators.

The fuel will be stored in protective casks.

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