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NRC Meeting Prompts Questions

Aired 6/18/12 on KPBS News.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a meeting in San Juan Capistrano tonight to share the agency’s findings about problems at the San Onofre nuclear power plant. But the agency is not ready to commit its findings in writing.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a meeting in San Juan Capistrano tonight to share the agency’s findings about problems at the San Onofre nuclear power plant. But the agency is not ready to commit its findings in writing.

Unlike the last NRC community meeting in April, when NRC chairman Greg Jaczko attended, tonight’s meeting will be led by regional staff and not attended by anyone from NRC headquarters. Nor will the NRC offer the public a report to review.

A couple stands near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at San Onofre State Beach on March 15, 2012 south of San Clemente, California.
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Above: A couple stands near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at San Onofre State Beach on March 15, 2012 south of San Clemente, California.

“This is a very strange process for there to be no documents in the public, no documents for Edison to be responding to," said Damon Moglen with the environmental group, Friends of the Earth.

Southern California Edison, which operates San Onofre, confirms it has not seen a report from the NRC, but will respond to the NRC’s findings at the meeting. The company has yet to issue its own report on what went wrong with the steam generators and how to fix it.

Gary Headrick of San Clemente Green said his group has been asking for copies of documents about the process when Edison applied to replace San Onofre’s steam generators.

“It’s a little bit much for us to expect the NRC to be critical of themselves,” he said, “so we’d like to make sure an independent expert gets a chance to review it before the public signs off on it.”

A U.S. Senate committee, chaired by Barbara Boxer, is reviewing thousands of documents to see if the NRC’s oversight of the steam generator replacement was adequate.

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