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Southern California Edison, operator of the long-idled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, has tentatively submitted paperwork for a license amendment that could lead to one of the twin nuclear reactors being re-activated before summer.

Current rules as defined by the plant’s operating license state that in order to operate, the plant must be able to safely run under full power for 22 months. A report released by Edison, however, shows a significant risk of another failure after the 11 month mark.

Edison has argued that these numbers are insignificant, because they plan only to run at 70% power for a five month test period.

When this rationale failed to win over regulators or vocal environmental watchdog groups, Edison changed tactics: the license amendment seeks to define 70% of the plant’s operating capacity as “full power,” therefore enabling the company to state with greater confidence that it can safely run as required.

Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility executive director Rochelle Becker offered the following testimony critical of the plan delivered to the California Public Utilities Commission last week:

There is no better way to describe the time and effort Edison has put into its ballyhooed desire to conduct a five-month operating test at 70% for Unit 2 than as an expensive, diversionary path to nowhere. Nowhere in the thousands of pages of self-justification Edison has commissioned is there a compelling linkage to eventual operation of Unit 2 at full capacity. Nowhere is there an attempt to justify the economics of operating Unit 2 over the long-term at only 70%. Nowhere is there any explanation of how even a successful Unit 2 test run might somehow enable a restart of Unit 3.

Others, such as Friends of the Earth, criticize the license change move as an end run around the more typical and lengthy amendment process that calls for mandatory public hearings.

The issue could be brought forward in final draft form as early as a Wednesday meeting with Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials.

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Comments

sullivanms April 2, 2013 @ 12:34 p.m.

San Onofre hasn't been 'the largest source of baseload generation and voltage support in the region,' as Edison repeatedly claims, for the past 14 months and counting, and the CA Independent System Operator (ISO) says we'll do just fine without it for the second Southern California summer upcoming. For example, voltage support will be provided by retrofitting the retired, Edison-owned Huntington Beach power plant as a 'synchronous condenser' ...

Per the CA Energy Commission, despite increased population and more appliances consuming power in homes and businesses, energy efficiency standards have helped keep per capita electricity consumption in California flat for the past 30 years. California's per capita electricity consumption has remained constant at approximately 7,000 kilowatt-hours/year (kWh) for the last 30 years due in large part to strict standards for homes and appliances. The rest of the U.S. has increased 40 percent (to roughly 12,000 kWh/year per person). And there is even more savings to be gained through additional advances in energy efficiency as well as conservation by users. Not to mention the boom in rooftop solar installations, with San Diego County leading the state.

Edison needs to stop with the Chicken Little routine -- the sky is NOT falling. The 21st Century is just moving forward.

As of last summer, California generates 1,255 MW of electricity from 122,516 rooftops (more than one of the San Onofre Nuclear Reactors). Rooftop solar installation can be done in a matter of months, and the CA Air Resources Board estimates that 150 permanent jobs are created for each 100 megawatt (MW) of local solar added. As an indication of the growth potential of this job sector, in San Diego County, we have only installed 2% (or 140 MW) of rooftop and parking lot capacity -- this is a GROWTH industry!

Here is a weblink to our letter faxed to Senator Boxer and Congressman Waxman today, with cc's to Senator Feinstein, NRC Chair Allison Macfarlane and several senior NRC managers, including those responsible for the decison on Restart of San Onofre, Eric Leeds and Art Howell. http://sanonofresafety.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/final-cdso-letter-4-release.pdf

The Coalition to Decommission San Onofre is comprised of community-based, grassroots organizations in San Diego and Orange Counties concerned for the safety of 8.5 million residents living within 50 miles of the defective San Onofre nuclear reactors, and for the economy of Southern California. These organizations include: Citizens Oversight, Earthkeepers San Diego, the Peace Resource Center of San Diego, San Clemente Green, SanOnofreSafety.org, and Women Occupy San Diego.

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Visduh April 2, 2013 @ 4:15 p.m.

After trying to slip this 70% startup through the back door and being rebuffed, Edison now comes through the front door with a Trojan Horse. Indeed, what would it prove if the test were successful in regard to a restart of Unit 3? No connection, as pointed out above, is obvious. Edison is trying mightily to salvage something from this fiasco, and the more it obfuscates and twists and turns, the more one wonders why. Edison should sue Mitsubishi Heavy for breach of contract and failure to deliver a serviceable product. At the same time it should order new generators from some other source, and those should stick to the letter of the design that was in the original permit. And Edison needs to stop fretting about who will pay for all this stuff until they've solved the problem. Oh, if Edison doesn't really want to solve it, then shut the darned things down and start to decommission them and dismantle them.

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Founder April 3, 2013 @ 1:45 p.m.

More on why they are UNSAFE here:

NRC: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly ... and why it is unsafe To restart San Onofre

http://decommission.sanonofre.com/

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Founder April 5, 2013 @ 7:29 a.m.

Remember that as long as SCE can keep SanO in the rate base they are still getting about 68 million dollars a month from ratepayers (on top of the Billion Dollars + they have already taken from us for these defectively designed replacement steam generators, even though they are not generating anything except profits for their shareholders, that is why they are doing whatever they can to make sure that SanO does not get closed down!

Once the decommissioning process begins, they, not ratepayers, will have to start spending their own money unless the CPUC allows them to continue to rape US...

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