NRC Investigation Report On San Onofre To Be Released Soon

Monday, July 9, 2012
By Alison St John

There is a conspicuous silence about what is happening at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, which has been shut down since January. No news is not necessarily good news.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is likely to put out its report this week about what went wrong at San Onofre. The plant's newly replaced steam generators leaked a small amount of radiation and design changes are being blamed.

Once the cause of the problems is established, the next big question is how much it would cost to fix it.

That’s something the California Public Utilities Commission wants to know. The CPUC may vote August 2 to launch an investigation into whether it is cost effective to restart the plant.

The CPUC will ultimately decide if ratepayers should foot the bill. But among the questions on the table are, what are the economic consequences if Units 2 and 3 at San Onofre do not come back online?

The decision about the future of the nuclear plant involves whether it is safe. But it will be made for political as well as economic reasons. An investigation by a committee chaired by California Senator Barbara Boxer is also ongoing.