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NRC Considers Voiding Key Ruling On San Onofre

Aired 6/14/13 on KPBS News.

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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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | June 15, 2013 at 6:47 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

If the NRC moves the goal posts like this it will be another example of an industry regulating itself, like the DOE kow-towing to the oil and gas industry in the months leading up to BP's oil spill in the Gulf.

Who does the NRC work for? I know who pays their salaries but who do they work for?

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Avatar for user 'closesongsnow'

closesongsnow | June 15, 2013 at 8:51 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Actions speak louder than words! If anyone still had any doubts about who the NRC really works for, this action by the NRC makes it very clear! Based on this action it is clear the NRC is more concerned about protecting the Nuclear industry than the health and well being of the public.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 15, 2013 at 11:40 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

☢ Industry Trying To Retain Market Share, But At What Cost to US - Jun 14, 2013 - 10:26 AM

Get ready for ever more Nuclear Baloney* that in essence says the San Onofre was a fluke but all the rest of the industry is just peachy!

Big Utilities have big PR budgets so they are now trying to sway ratepayers back toward risky nuclear using a number of talking points like:

√ Nobody has been killed (yet) by nuclear, that we have been told about.

√ Nuclear is good for the environment, except when it leaks radioactive pollution for decades like Fukushima and the other nuclear accidents.

√ Required for base load to maintain the grid, which gets along fine when nuclear is shut down like it has in CA for a year and a half.

Lets cut to the punchline: If Germany can phase out Nuclear, so can the USA, the only thing standing in the way is the Nuclear Industry and their strangle hold on congressional Leaders that make our Energy rules! If people that installed rooftop solar got paid for their energy at the same rate that Utilities got paid for the energy that they generated (A Level Energy Playing Field) then Solar (of all flavors) would be installed everywhere, not just in Big Utility Projects! This would allow everyone to not only use Energy that they generate but sell back to the GRID (which we all pay for) for others to use! Ask yourself why the Utilities should be the only ones profiting from the sale of Energy?

Regarding Nuclear, the USA cannot afford the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster RISK of one or more reactors melting down like the four did in Fukushima! Just because it has not happened yet in the USA is no guarantee that it will not occur tomorrow; that and the unknown costs of long term nuclear waste storage make nuclear no longer a good deal at any price, despite what the nuclear industry PR machine says!

N☢ More Nuclear Business As Usual,

Ratepayers have been ripped off enough.

*Nuclear Baloney (NB)

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 15, 2013 at 11:48 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

First posted 06-08-13
N☢ San Onofre Gate*
First, a salute to all of San Onofre's loyal workers at that have or will lose their jobs because of SCE Managements poor engineering decisions, everyone feels sorry for both you and your families, there is no good time to be laid off. We also feel sorry for all the local businesses and families that live in the neighborhoods located near San Onofre that will feel the effects of these job loses. Hopefully as many as possible of you can remain here by getting retrained by SCE, so that you can be retained or re-hired (along with many others) to decommission San Onofre a big job that we now know will last for many years and cost billions of dollars which will hopefully help jumpstart the entire southern California economy!
To all those that are now upset, angry and/or worried about the future because San Onofre is being decommissioned, I urge all you to not focus your frustration upon those who protested by publicizing the many actual safety concerns at San Onofre but join with them and together lets all demand to learn much more about why San Onofre had to be decommissioned. We all deserve to know exactly who at SCE was responsible for their decisions to use unproven radical designed RSG’s at San Onofre that not only failed so quickly after being put into service but leaked radioactivity into the air we breathe, putting everyone in southern California at risk!

Because of this Corporate engineering debacle**, recently laid off employees, present employees soon to be laid off and all the ratepayers are now suffering while those that are responsible are simply going to change their retirement packages and/or enjoy their golden parachutes; they are the only ones that should be held responsible! The US Government, the NRC, the CPUC and the State of California Attorney General must complete all of their investigations into San Onofre, so that those that are responsible can be identified and we all receive the maximum financial relief possible from them. SCE, SDG&E, the CPUC and MHI must be instructed ASAP not to shred any documents relating to San Onofre; the public will not accept a San Onofre Gate cover up. No longer can SCE or MHI claim that they must restrict any "proprietary information" on any company documents relating to San Onofre since they are now going to be decommissioning it, along with its new unsafe Replacement Steam Generators that contain so many major design flaws. In hindsight, Southern California had a nuclear near miss on 01/31/12 and if we were not just plain lucky we could have suffered a nuclear accident just like Fukushima, because of the dangerous Replacement Steam Generators that were in use at San Onofre.

*First posted 06-08-13

**San Onofre will be remembered as both a nuclear near miss, and as an engineering debacle of epic proportions like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 15, 2013 at 11:48 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

We now also have another major problem, which is to determine where both our Federal and State Regulatory Systems of checks and balances failed, in order to make sure that something like this never happens again because the USA cannot afford a trillion dollar Eco-disaster. To do that, it is vital that we insure that all the investigations mentioned above are done publicly and not behind closed doors so that all of us can better understand exactly how San Onofre's debacle occurred, the names of those that are responsible for it and exactly who we should hold responsible for the restitution of all our financial losses.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 15, 2013 at 11:49 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Ratepayers want low cost, SAFE energy and Solar is now ready to provide it.

There are only three things standing in the way of FIXING our energy problem:

Our powerful Utilities, who want to keep us in Energy Slavery, so that we will be forced to purchase our energy from them instead of producing it ourselves for FREE (after the initial payback).

Our appointed regulators, who have a too cozy relationship with the very Utilities they regulate! They have been putting Utility shareholder profits ahead of following their sworn mandate and demanding that our "public" utilities provide energy to US at the lowest cost possible! Example: Why should Utilities be allowed to rip off residential solar panel owners by not reimburse them for the energy they add to the grid at the very same rate that the Utility pays itself when it adds energy to the grid? This would "level" the energy playing field and greatly reduce the payback periods of owning your own panels, which would make installing solar even a better deal!

Our Political Leaders are beholden to the Powerful Utilities because of large Utility donations and have been until recently hesitant to propose changes to "how the energy game is played" but now with a shrinking economy, the public resistance to ever higher energy costs and record Utility shareholder profits, energy is becoming a HOT political issue that Political Leaders cannot ignore any longer, if they want to stay in office or get elected.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 15, 2013 at 12:02 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

If the NRC voids this ruling they are setting themselves up for yet another investigation, which will lead to an enormous firestorm of public outcry; gone are the days of huge industry *Nuclear Baloney (NB) PR campaigns...

Remember Fukushima! America cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster!

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | June 15, 2013 at 1:05 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

good example of how hard it is to get honest (not corruptible) persons to fill jobs like the nrc.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | June 15, 2013 at 8:50 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

The president and congress need to do a complete overhaul of the NRC, replacing nuclear industry friendly commissioners and staff with new appointees who will really do a good job of ensuring that nuclear powerplants are safe. The current crop has blown it big time.

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