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San Onofre: Los Angeles votes to oppose reactor restart without public hearings

Posted Apr. 23, 2013 / Posted by: Adam Russell

LA council joins other SoCal cities in concern over safety

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously today to ask federal regulators not to allow the restart of the crippled San Onofre nuclear reactors before the formal public process to determine whether Edison’s experimental restart plan is safe and all needed repairs or replacements are completed.

The resolution by District 5 Councilmember Paul Koretz and District 11 Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, which passed 11-0, expresses support for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to:

make no decision about restarting either San Onofre unit until it has fully reviewed public safety through a prudent, transparent, and precautionary process, has allowed independent experts and the public ample opportunity to comment, and has confirmed that Southern California Edison has completed any resulting mandated repairs, replacements, or other actions necessary to guarantee both short and long-term safe operation of San Onofre . . . [The City also encourages the NRC] to take the time needed to independently determine whether or not the information, analysis and actions provided by Southern California Edison constitute a solid technical basis for the adequate protection of the public and resumption of operations.

LA joins a long list of Southern California cities that have expressed concerns about the safety of restarting either of San Onofre’s twin reactors. Both reactors have been shut down for almost a year, after a leak of radioactive steam led to the discovery of widespread and unprecedented damage to the reactors’ recently installed replacement steam generators.

Edison has proposed to the NRC that it be allowed to restart reactor Unit 2 at partial power and run it as a five month test followed by two years of  intermittent shutdowns and startups. Edison has also requested a license amendment with a “no significant hazard” provision that would allow restart with a public hearing to be held only after the fact. NRC staff have given preliminary approval to Edison’s request, but are taking public comments on the proposal through May 15.

“There is a growing consensus from cities in the Southland that Edison’s restart plan amounts to a dangerous experiment that gambles with the safety of millions of Southern Californians,” said S. David Freeman, former head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and a senior consultant to Friends of the Earth. “There are serious questions about what went wrong at San Onofre, whether it can be fixed, and whether it is safe to operate that can only be answered adequately in a formal legal proceeding.”

Cities that have passed resolutions or sent letters of concern to the NRC include Del Mar, Encinitas, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Santa Monica, Solana Beach, Vista, Berkley and Fairfax. In addition, the San Diego Unified School District board passed a similar resolution.

Acting on a petition from Friends of the Earth, the NRC is conducting two official proceedings which could require Edison to seek a full license amendment with adjudicated public hearings, expert testimony and rules of evidence.

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Contact:
Bill Walker, Friends of the Earth: (510) 759-9911
Paul Michael Neuman, office of Councilmember Koretz: (213) 473-7005

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