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NRC Considers Voiding Key Ruling On San Onofre

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission may reject a ruling that contributed to the decision to shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Special Feature What do you think about the decision to close San Onofre?

The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California is closing, after an epic 16-month battle over whether the twin reactors could be safely returned to service, officials announced Friday. What do you think about San Onofre's shutdown?

Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff want to void a ruling that played a significant role in Southern California Edison’s decision to shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Edison decided shut the nuclear power plant down for good partially because the Atomic Safety Licensing Board ruled there should be public hearings before any restart plan would have been approved by the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The ASLB is a panel of judges, an arm of the NRC. The group Friends of the Earth pushed for those public hearings.

Now, Kendra Ulrich of FOE said NRC staff are preparing to wipe the judges’ ruling from the record. Ulrich said the regulatory agency is too closely allied with the companies they are regulating.

“That’s why they want to vacate this order,” she said. “They want to make sure that this very comfortable relationship that they have established is maintained.“

The NRC did not respond to questions about the motion to vacate the ruling. Voiding the ruling will not change the decision to shut down San Onofre but it could affect communities in other states such as Ohio, which is seeking more transparency from the nuclear industry.

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