Economics for the Earth Blog

Feds launch two new proceedings to address safety concerns raised by petition

Posted Nov. 8, 2012 / Posted by: Becca Connors

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In today’s decision, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has directed its Atomic Safety and Licensing Board and staff to consider the issues raised by Friends of the Earth in its petition filed June 18, 2012.

Specifically, the Commission:

  • Referred to the ASLB whether the current CAL process is a de facto license amendment process, requiring an adjudicatory public hearing;
  • Referred to the Commission staff whether Edison should have sought a license amendment, with attendant adjudicatory hearings, when it installed the defective steam generators in 2010-11;
  • Offered to reconsider convening an adjudicatory hearing if the ASLB denies Friends of the Earth’s request;
  • Offered to reconsider staying the restart of the idled reactors if restart becomes imminent before the completion of the processes ordered above.
  • In addition, the Commission states that NRC staff is “…already evaluating whether these SCE actions required a license amendment”.

We are encouraged by the tone and content of this decision, and will pursue the issue as suggested by the Commission while exploring our other options aside from those through the agency.

However, we believe that the Commission could, and should, have made a decision on its own to convene an adjudicatory hearing now about Edison’s plans to restart San Onofre. A hearing would provide assurance to the 8.4 million people of Southern California who live within 50 miles of the crippled plant that it will not be reopened unless it is entirely safe.  Further administrative process unnecessarily leaves the public in limbo.

In any case, the details of this case are crystal clear: Edison made dramatic and irresponsible design changes to the new steam generators which it chose to represent to the NRC as a “like for like” exchange for the original steam generators.  Accordingly, Edison never got a license amendment for this drastically altered design nor does it have a license amendment under which it would operate this defective equipment at partial power, as it has proposed to do in the controversial and reckless restart plan.  Edison’s design errors have lead to the multi-hundred million dollar failure of brand new equipment which has in turn endangered the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Southern California.

CONTACT:
Damon Moglen, (202) 222-0708
Bill Walker, (510) 759-9911

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