Ian Pike 10 a.m., March 7
Nuclear Regulatory Commission denies request for hearing on San Onofre
The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday morning shot down a request by environmental group Friends of the Earth to require a public hearing before deciding whether to allow Southern California Edison to resume operations at its troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The Commission’s unanimous decision to deny the request was reached at a meeting that is reported to have lasted less than one minute.
Friends of the Earth’s justification for the request rested largely on the assertion that the replacement of steam generators at San Onofre’s twin nuclear reactors constituted design changes so significant that Edison should have been required to seek approval and a licensing amendment before installing the new generators, which failed after less than two years of operation. Such claims stem from a report commissioned by the group that was released in May and also cast doubts on the feasibility of making repairs to the malfunctioning equipment.
“We believe that the Commission could, and should, have made a decision on its own to convene an adjudicatory hearing now about Edison’s plans to restart San Onofre,” reads part of a statement issued by Friends after the rejection. “In any case, the details of this case are crystal clear: Edison made dramatic and irresponsible design changes to the new steam generators which it chose to represent to the NRC as a “like for like” exchange for the original steam generators.”
While the Commission declined to act at the moment, it did leave open the possibility that Friends could renew their request at some point in the future, possibly when there is “an indication that a restart of SONGS Units 2 or 3 appears imminent,” per the official order denying the request.
The Commission will hold a public meeting next Tuesday in Dana Point to discuss Edison’s proposal to resume operation of one nuclear reactor.
More like this:
- New Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair visits San Onofre — Jan. 17, 2013
- San Onofre restart plan hits a snag — Dec. 27, 2012
- Out of reach — Dec. 11, 2012
- San Onofre restart plan forthcoming, says plant operator Edison — Sept. 18, 2012
- Edison Reports Increased Damage, Backs Off Restart Proposal at San Onofre — May 9, 2012