Originally published September 24, 2012 at 11 a.m., updated September 24, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.
Daniel Hirsch, president, Committee to Bridge the Gap, lecturer on nuclear policy at UC Santa Cruz
Far Outside the Norm-The San Onofre Nuclear Plant's Steam Generator Problems
Southern California Edison Statement:
"SCE has and will continue to make its top priority the safety of the public and its workers.
"Our engineers and a team of external experts are currently working on the response to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Confirmatory Action Letter which will include a thorough understanding of the cause, the repair plan and the corrective actions for Unit 2. This document will be publically available in its entirety when it is submitted. The commission has stated that it will take as long as needed to review the response. SCE will not restart the unit until we and the NRC are satisfied it is safe to do so."
Jennifer Manfrè, Senior Manager, Media Relations
Southern California Edison
Early next month, Southern California Edison says it will deliver a long-awaited letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that is expected to describe the root causes of the tube failure that shut down steam generators at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Both reactors have been offline since January.
In the meantime, another investigation into San Onofre's problems was recently introduced at a U.S. Senate committee which oversees nuclear regulation. The Committee to Bridge the Gap contends the damaged steam generators at San Onofre are in much worse shape than publicly acknowledged.
The co-author of that report, Daniel Hirsch, told KPBS San Onofre had 400 times as many damaged steam generator tubes as in a typical nuclear reactor with new steam generators. He said there were also 1,000 times as many indications of wear.
"These are very, very sick reactors," he said.
Hirsch said they asked the NRC for this data, but the NRC didn't have it. So his organization, Committee to Bridge the Gap, went through inspection reports on all other nuclear reactors in the country on their own.
Southern California Edison declined to speak to KPBS about the issue, but released a statement saying they are working on a response to the NRC.
Hirsch said the data they found needs to be considered before the decision is made to put San Onofre back online.
Claire Trageser contributed to this report.