David Dodd 2:33 a.m., May 19
Edison says operating San Onofre at full power is safe after all
Risk of tube risk greatly heightened after 11 months, utility still says it wants to test reactor under 70% load
Amid rumors that Southern California Edison’s plan to restart one of the two troubled reactors at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station under partial power could trigger a license amendment, the utility has released a report to federal regulators stating that the Unit 2 reactor could, as its current license requires, operate safely under full power.
The question is how long they could operate – under two sets of assumptions, computer modeling shows that the safe operating span of the generator under full power would be between .094 years and 1.04 years, or just over 11 months on the short side. Though the report would appear to meet current licensing requirements, a statement from Edison insists the utility has “no intent to restart Unit 2 at full power,” and still plans to run at 70% capacity for a five-month test period, though even at that reduced level the risk of another tube carrying radioactive steam bursting increases significantly after about 18 months.
Meanwhile, Denny Freidenrich offers a unique and thoroughly unlikely solution to answering the San Onofre restart question in the Daily Pilot: put it to a vote. Freidenrich suggests ballot measures with identical language, offering a simple yes/no choice on the restart plan, be put to San Diego and Orange County voters.
A poll conducted in late 2012 commissioned by environmental and nuclear watchdog group Friends of the Earth suggested as many as 58 percent of area residents would have opposed the plant’s reopening at that time, though Edison questioned the validity of the poll results, given language used to steer respondents.