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Federal Regulators Say Edison Did Not Mislead About San Onofre Tube Changes

Aired 7/19/12 on KPBS News.

Environmentalists say the NRC's report is not an exoneration of Edison or regulators.

Southern California Edison did not mischaracterize design changes on its troubled steam generators at San Onofre nuclear plant, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Edison shut down San Onofre in January after tubes inside newly installed steam generators wore thin too quickly. A rupture could cause a leak in radioactive water.

Part of the NRC’s inquiry was to determine whether Edison had accurately conveyed the extent of its tube-design changes to federal regulators and whether those alterations should have triggered greater scrutiny.

The NRC concluded that the company did give the agency all the information required under existing rules. NRC spokesman Victor Dricks said regulators are now examining if those rules are adequate.

Damon Moglen of the environmental group Friends of the Earth said the NRC is being disingenuous.

“It’s very clear that these major design changes affirmed by the NRC itself should have triggered a license amendment process and a full adjudicatory public hearing process and the fact is that the NRC failed to require that and now they’re denying that failure and that’s really unacceptable," Moglen said.

In a prepared statement in response to the report, Edison's Chief Nuclear Officer Peter Dietrich said, “We are committed to continuing to work with the NRC on the steam generator issues and will continue to use conservative decision making as we work on repairs and planning for the future.”

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