Applauding California Leadership on Nuclear Reactor Safety

Kudos to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA) for writing to Allison Mcfarlane, the new Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to question the process for the recent installation of new steam generators at troubled Units 2 and 3 of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in southern California. Based on a 2012 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), report which was apparently leaked to their congressional offices, Boxer and Markey allege that Southern California Edison (SCE) and MHI both were aware of major safety issues with the new generators before they were installed in 2010 and 2011, but "rejected enhanced safety modifications and avoided triggering a more rigorous license amendment and safety review process." (Download the February 6 letter.) Chairman Mcfarlane responded briefly on February 8 that "the NRC's Office of Investigations initiated an expansive investigation of the completeness and accuracy of information that Southern California Edison provided to the NRC regarding the steam generators at SONGS [San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station]." (Download the February 8 letter.)

We all must demand that we reach the truth about San Onofre's safety and risks, as well as projected costs, in order to decide if and when the units should be restarted. The Mitsubishi report has not yet been publicly released by the NRC reportedly due to "proprietary information."

For more, see LA Times article Feb. 6, 2013 story.