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Boxer Pushes NRC For Assurances On Nuclear Safety

"Edison has not responded to requests from KPBS for information about the difference between Units 2 and 3."

Edison has maintained -- without challenge from the NRC -- that the fact that fewer tubes have been plugged in Unit 2 than in Unit 3 proves Unit 2 is in better shape and should be considered for restart. But the NRC data show that the number of tubes plugged in Unit 2 is still almost five times higher than in any other comparable reactor.

A May 7, 2012 condition report from Edison, which has not been made public but was obtained by Friends of the Earth, confirms that Unit 2 is identical to Unit 3 and shares the same problems. Analyzing the findings of the condition report, Gundersen concluded:

“The replacement steam generators at San Onofre Unit 2 and Unit 3 were designed to the same specifications, were modeled using the same flawed and inadequate computer codes, and both units have the same ... instability that is one of the causes of the significant tube generation.”

Dave Freeman, former head of the federal Tennessee Valley Authority and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said the condition report shows clearly that the picture Edison and the NRC are painting -- that Unit 2 is in better shape than Unit 3 -- is false.

“The fact that the first tube leak occurred in Unit 3 is simply a sneak preview to what could happen if either unit is restarted,” said Freeman, a senior advisor to Friends of the Earth. “The NRC needs to see through this blatant attempt to throw everyone off the real trail to safety. They need to keep both units shut down until the root cause is identified, an adjudicatory hearing is held and a determination is made on whether or how the steam generators could be fixed.”

Friends of the Earth has petitioned the NRC to require a formal relicensing procedure to determine whether San Onofre should be restarted. The NRC has yet to respond to the petition.


September 13, 2012 at 3:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )