Irvine Asks NRC Not To Renew San Onofre's License If Conditions Are Not Met

Thursday, April 26, 2012
By Alison St John
Photo by David McNew / Getty Images
Above: A couple stands near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at San Onofre State Beach on March 15, 2012 south of San Clemente, California.

Irvine city council voted unanimously to send a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Committee, after hearing testimony about the current problems at the plant.

“We asked that licensing renewal not be considered,” said Irvine City Councilman Larry Agran,”and indeed that the decommissioning of San Onofre ought to be the first order of business - no later than the year 2022.”

2022 is the year that San Onofre’s license comes up for renewal. Units 2 and 3 were commissioned 30 years ago. The steam generators were recently replaced, with the intention of meeting requirements for license renewal, but they were shut down in January after tubes showed premature wear and Unit 3 leaked radiation.

Irvine has a population of 220,000, and is the largest city so far to voice its concerns about the plant, joining San Clemente and Solana Beach.

Agran said the city also asked the NRC to require Southern California Edison to expand its evacuation plans around the plant from a 10- to a 50-mile radius. Irvine is 22 miles from San Onofre, San Diego is 50 miles and Los Angeles lies 60 miles from the nuclear plant.

Agran says it would be impractical to evacuate the 8 million people living around the plant, and the community should be preparing now to manage without nuclear power in the future.