(The following article is from Friends of the Earth)
|For more than a year after the failure of a steam generator tube and resulting radiation leak in its Unit 3 reactor, both San Onofre nuclear reactors — which sit in a coastal seismic zone between San Diego and Los Angeles — have been shut down. But now, Southern California Edison — operator of the San Onofre reactors — wants to experimentally restart the severely damaged Unit 2 reactor at reduced power for five months, just to see what happens.Edison’s restart scheme has major holes: the root cause of the problems hasn’t been found, Edison’s own experts disagree on even the secondary cause of the issues, and disagree on the length of time left before another accident could occur — which ranges from a few months to a little over a year.In short, Edison is rushing to restart the reactor in time for summer, when it can maximize its profits, which — unfortunately for the people of Southern California — means putting safety at the bottom of the list.
Now, there’s one obstacle keeping Edison from cranking up its crippled reactor: its risky, experimental restart plan doesn’t comply with their current operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In an effort to sideline this issue, Edison announced that it would apply for a “voluntary license amendment,” which would pave the way for restarting one of the severely damaged reactors. But the narrow footnote amendment it proposed to the NRC doesn’t address the many safety and noncompliance issues raised by their experimental restart plan. In truth, Edison is attempting to wordsmith their license rather than address any safety issues.
Even more stunning, Edison also requested that the NRC issue a “no significant hazard consideration” determination, hoping to rush the restart process past public participation.
No significant hazard?
Let’s be clear: Edison is pushing to restart these reactors when the cause for the accident and unprecedented damage isn’t even fully understood. Plus, it is requesting this amendment for two years, when the only analyses it has submitted are for five months.
Worse, the no significant hazard consideration would effectively strip the public of any meaningful role in the process through an adjudicatory hearing. If the NRC gives way to Edison’s demand that its proposed amendment to pave the way for restart, a for-show hearing could then take place after the amendment had been issued and would amount to nothing more than a dog and pony show.
Edison’s nuclear experiment with Southern California must be stopped. Millions of lives and livelihoods are at stake.
The NRC’s public comment period on Edison’s license amendment and no significant hazard consideration requests runs until May 16. We need your voice!
Standing with you,