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The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission played to a packed house Tuesday night in Dana Point, as they convened a public meeting to address the myriad concerns of residents and stakeholders concerning the problems experienced at, and the restart plans for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County.

Many of the attendees were labor union representatives, who were there in support of the plan to resume operations at the plant presented last week by operator Southern California Edison and to counter protesters described as “loudmouthed” and “ignorant.”

In addition to restart supporters, those arguing for a prolonged or permanent shutdown also made a strong showing, calling attention to concerns about the plant’s equipment, past safety record, and the spiraling costs associated with the nuclear facility, including those borne as a result of the failure of the plant’s new, $670 million-plus steam generators.

Commission representatives expressed that it was not the position of the agency to take sides.

“Whether you believe it or not, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not promote . . . or oppose,” nuclear energy, said Elmo Collins, the Commission's regional administrator, insisting that safety was the agency’s sole concern.

This link, prepared by the Reader’s Matt Potter, includes a sampling of comments from those attending the meeting, as well as Reader coverage of San Onofre’s problems dating back to June 2010, eighteen months before the plant was shuttered for a radioactive leak.

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