Southern California Edison supports Nuclear Regulatory Commission decision to deny Friends of Earth petition

OSEMEAD, Calif., November 8, 2012 — Southern California Edison (SCE) supports the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) decision to deny the Friends of the Earth (FOE) petition to intervene and request a hearing regarding plans to address replacement steam generator issues at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

SCE had opposed the FOE petition on the ground that granting it would violate well-established procedural practices at the commission. Specifically, the NRC-established review process for Unit 2 restart, which will include a thorough investigation by the NRC and public meetings, is the appropriate process for confirming that SCE’s restart plan is fully consistent with protecting public safety. As part of this process, the NRC is holding a public business meeting and webcast on Nov. 16 in Dana Point.

SCE notes that two license amendments for the replacement steam generators were filed and approved in 2008, at which time there were no petitions to intervene or requests for hearings by FOE or others, despite being publicly noticed in the Federal Register on Sept. 23, 2008. Additionally, the NRC has verified that SCE followed applicable regulations regarding the modifications in the replacement steam generator process, and that SCE fully informed the NRC of all changes, including the number of additional tubes and changes to the support structures.

Both units of the plant are currently safely shut down. Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. SCE submitted its response to the NRC’s Confirmatory Action Letter on Oct. 4, along with its restart plan for Unit 2. The unit cannot be restarted until all plans have been approved by the NRC.

Unit 3 was safely taken off line Jan. 31 after station operators detected a small leak in a steam generator tube. Both units will remain shut down until the NRC is satisfied that the units are safe to operate.