San Onofre Shutdown, One Year Later

Thursday, January 31, 2013
By Alison St John, Amita Sharma, Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh, Megan Burke

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been offline since a small radiation leak in January last year led to the discovery of excessive wear on hundreds of steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water. Southern California Edison predicts running the plant at low power will stop tube damage. Environmentalists argue the plant cannot run safely.

A Look Back At Key Events

Southern California Edison says its plan to run the San Onofre Nuclear Plant at reduced power will stop tube damage. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission won't make a decision on Edison's proposal to restart the plant until April or May. But critics say the plant can't run safely. What are some of the top safety concerns over restarting San Onofre?

KPBS invited representatives from Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric, the City of Riverside and the California Public Utilities Commission to be on the program, all declined.

Statement From Southern California Edison:

Southern California Edison is confident that exhaustive research by global experts demonstrates the safety of SCE’s conservative plan to restart San Onofore Nuclear Generating Station. SCE welcomes the opportunity to review this independent analysis at public meetings next month, including a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) meeting on Feb. 12 in Capistrano Beach, CA. The NRC scheduled the meeting to review SCE”s plan to address steam generator tube degradation at San Onofre. In addition, SCE will share its tube wear insights at an NRC meeting and webcast Feb. 7 in Rockville, MD regarding nuclear industry steam generator tube wear experience.

In addition to participation in public meetings, SCE has demonstrated its transparency by giving the public easy access to more than 170,000 inspections and analysis that confirm the safety of the Unit 2 restart plan. SCE’s restart plant and supporting documents, including ongoing replies to the NRC, are available at

SCE has continued to emphasizes that a critical review by the NRC of the company’s plan to restart Unit 2 is important to both the public and SCE. Safety remains SCE’s top priority and we are confident that when implemented, the Unit 2 restart plan will get San Onofre Unit 2 back to providing reliable and clean energy to Southern Californians.