UPDATE: The NRC announced plans to approve Edison’s request to lower San Onofre’s safety standards and may do so in less than the normal 30 day comment period –removing obstacles to a restart of the seriously defective San Onofre Unit 2 nuclear reactor. This could mean a restart in May or June 2013. The NRC ignored Senator Barbara Boxer’s and Rep. Ed Markey’s request to complete the safety investigation before taking any action that could lead to restart.
Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, issued the following statements.
Senator Boxer said:
“The NRC staff proposal, which could pave the way for the restart of the San Onofre nuclear power plant before the investigations of the crippled plant are completed, is dangerous and premature. It makes absolutely no sense to even consider taking any steps to reopen San Onofre until these investigations look at every aspect of reopening the plant given the failure of the tubes that carry radioactive water. In addition, the damaged plant is located in an area at risk of earthquake and tsunami. With eight million people living within 50 miles of this plant, the staff proposal is beyond irresponsible.”
Rep. Markey said:
“Today, the NRC showed blatant disregard for the safety of tens of millions of people who live near the San Onofre nuclear plant. It is absurd for NRC to say that Southern California Edison’s license amendment is entirely unrelated to a future decision to allow the restart of the reactor; it is like saying that giving someone a driver’s license has nothing to do with allowing them to drive a car.”
Southern California Edison wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to approve lowering San Onofre safety standards in May 2013 in order to expedite a restart of their defective Unit 2 nuclear reactor by June 1, 2013. Currently, San Onofre must be able to run at 100% power for two years before it is considered safe to operate. Edison wants their operating license amended to lower this to 70% percent power during Cycle 17.
If approved by the NRC, Edison would be able to restart their defective Unit 2 nuclear reactor without the rigors of a thorough license amendment and public adjudicatory hearing on the San Onofre safety issues. Contact Senator Barbara Boxer and NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane and tell them to stop the NRC from lowering safety standards at San Onofre.
Friends of the Earth (FOE) held a telephone briefing April 2nd with John Large, a London-based expert on nuclear reactors. He provided an excellent detailed analysis of Edison’s request, explaining why Unit 2 should not be restarted. And Edison knew there were problems with the steam generator design, but had them built anyway. See John Large’s 3/27/2013 report: Review of Tube Wear Identified in the San Onofre Replacement Steam Generators – Mitsubishi Reports UES-20120254 Rev.0 (3/64) and L5-04GA588(0) together with Other Relevant Information, R3218-A2. See also FOE’s 4/1/2013 press release and 4/1/2013 letter to Senator Boxer and Rep. Waxman.
Both Unit 2 and 3 show decades of wear in critical steam generator tubes after less than two years of operation. Edison only discovered this after a radiation leak in Unit 3 (less than one year of operation). Edison’s nuclear “experts” had promised these replacement steam generators would last decades. Instead, thousands of defective tubes needed plugging — unprecedented in NRC history (see Plugged Tubes Chart with NRC data and summary of steam generator problems).
NRC SONGS Lead Inspector, Greg Werner, said no technology exists to detect steam generator tube radiation leaks until AFTER they occurs, and there is no way to test an operating steam generator (only computer simulations are done).
Edison implies San Onofre may be needed before this summer, so wants approval for restart in May 2013. However, California’s electric grid operator has plans to avoid blackouts this summer just as they did last summer (one of the hottest summers on record).
Watch this video of the 4/3/2013 meeting to hear critical comments and questions from David Freeman, Kendra Ulrich (FOE), Dan Hirsch, Ace Hoffman, John Geesman, Ray Lutz, Gary Headrick, and Myla Reson. (Video courtesy of EON.) For full audio and video of this meeting go to NRC video archives at: http://video.nrc.gov/
April 3rd pre-application NRC meeting to discuss Edison’s plan to submit a license amendment request (LAR) claiming “no significant hazard” for Unit 2. The proposed LAR would address compliance with the San Onofre Unit 2, Technical Specifications, discussed in the NRC staff’s request for additional information (RAI), question number 32, transmitted to SCE on December 26, 2012. Edison has not been able to adequately address NRC RAI question 32 regarding the ability to successfully operate Unit 2 at all ranges of power.
DATE: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 TIME: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PDT (1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT) LOCATION: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission One White Flint North Commissioners’ Hearing Room 11555 Rockville Pike Rockville, Maryland 20852 .
…All in-service steam generator tubes shall retain structural integrity over the full range of normal operating conditions (including startup, operation in the power range, hot standby, cool down and all anticipated transients included in the design specification) and design basis accidents…
This is a Category 1 meeting. The public is invited to participate in this meeting and will have one or more opportunities to communicate with the NRC after the business portion, but before the meeting is adjourned. Proprietary information may be discussed at certain times during the meeting. These portions of the meeting will be closed to members of the public who have not been granted access to the information by the owner of the information. Participants from the NRC include staff members from the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR).
Interested members of the public can participate in this meeting via Webcast link or toll-free audio teleconference.
- Webcast link: http://video.nrc.gov. This link to the NRC webcast page will permit the user to select the meeting to be viewed and the viewing speed. The meeting link will become active approximately one hour prior to meeting start.
- Teleconference bridge number: 888-677-3916; passcode 2670631. [approximately 400 caller maximum]. Callers will initially be placed in a “listen only” status. At the designated point in the agenda, two-way calling will be enabled, so that the public may ask questions of the NRC staff regarding the meeting discussions.
Individuals interested in attending the meeting in person are requested to contact one of the meeting contacts listed below in advance of the meeting, as seating may be limited. [Note: requests to have NRC hold all San Onofre public meetings in Southern California have been denied.]Randy Hall, NRR firstname.lastname@example.org 301-415-4032 Jason Paige, NRR email@example.com 301-415-5888
- Application and Amendment to San Onofre Operating License 4/10/2013
- NRC Official Meeting Notice and Agenda
- Facts Edison doesn’t want you to know: Why San Onofre should not be restarted/Plugged Tubes Chart
- NRC San Onofre Steam Generator Tube Degradation website
- Citizens’ 4/1/2013 letter to Senator Barbara Boxer and Rep. Henry Waxman
- SAN ONOFRE: Edison’s restart request reduces safety to a footnote – Friends of the Earth, 4/1/2013
- Large Associates 3-27-2013 Review of Tube Wear Identified in the San Onofre Replacement Steam Generators – Mitsubishi Reports UES-20120254 Rev.0 (3/64) and L5-04GA588(0) together with Other Relevant Information, R3218-A2
- Edison Draft License Amendment Request