Walter Mencken 12:34 p.m., July 24
Regulatory double-speak clouds future of San Onofre public hearings
Comments from Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Alison Macfarlane on the future of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station have generated media confusion and potentially put her at odds with environmental groups, Senator Barbara Boxer, and the NRC’s own Atomic Safety Licensing Board.
After speaking before a group representing nuclear industry business interests on Tuesday, Macfarlane said that a public hearing wasn’t necessarily required before changes to San Onofre’s license could be approved that would allow the plant to re-start. She did acknowledge public interest in such a procedure, however, saying the situation concerning the power plant’s shutdown had “multiple moving parts,” and that there existed “potential opportunities for public hearings.”
The Atomic Safety Licensing Board, however, ruled late Monday in favor of the public’s right to petition for just those hearings. While environmental watchdogs and anti-nuclear activists celebrated the ruling as a victory, it stopped short of guaranteeing that hearings would take place.
The public comment period on plant operator Southern California Edison’s re-start proposal ends Thursday, and activists have been ramping up calls for last-minute public involvement in the process. While some parties are hoping for quick action (Edison has suggested it may have to look into abandoning plans to resume operations if they don’t get a response to their demand for action by May 24), the Commission has said any concrete decisions may still be weeks away.
More like this:
- Billboard pushes for greater San Onofre awareness — May 13, 2013
- Calls for public hearings on San Onofre grow, fears about summer power supply may be exaggerated — April 24, 2013
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission says no new danger in San Onofre license amendment — April 11, 2013
- New Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair visits San Onofre — Jan. 17, 2013
- San Onofre restart plan forthcoming, says plant operator Edison — Sept. 18, 2012