Eva Knott 7:03 p.m., May 17
Senator Barbara Boxer, chair of the Senate’s Committee on the Environment and Public Works, reiterated her request to members of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission this week that the troubled reactors at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station not be granted permission to resume operation until all safety concerns have been addressed.
“Let me be clear – it is the NRC’s duty to ensure that the appropriate actions are taken to address safety concerns related to the compromised tubes before San Onofre’s reactors are permitted to go back online,” Boxer said, as reported by energybiz.
Boxer spoke at the seventh oversight hearing held since Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi disaster in March 2011. The series of meetings have the stated purpose of reviewing lessons learned from the meltdown that could be applied to the 104 nuclear plants in the U.S.
The San Onofre plant, in a state of emergency shutdown since late January when a tube carrying radioactive steam in an electricity generator burst, is not the only nuclear reactor suffering from an unexpected outage.
Duke Energy’s Crystal River plant in Florida has been offline since September 2009 and may not reopen until 2014 after receiving between $900 million and $1.3 billion in repairs. The plant was expected to be operating again by 2011, but problems were discovered in the concrete containment dome encasing the reactor.
The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station in Nebraska has been out of commission since April 2011 – like San Onofre’s Unit 2 reactor, Fort Calhoun was initially shut down for refueling, but after flooding on the Missouri River in 2011 a fire resulted in the loss of power to circulate water through cooling ponds for spent fuel, considered a high-level threat as the fuel could quickly boil and evaporate the water, creating the risk for radiation release.