In this special edition, Fairewinds analyzes a letter from Senator Boxer and Representative Markey that indicates that the problems at San Onofre were known to its owner, Southern California Edison, years before the steam generators were installed and rapidly failed. This statement by Boxer and Markey supports Fairewinds analysis of one year ago that indicates Edison took shortcuts to avoid public participation in a license amendment for San Onofre.
listen > Sen. Boxer Believes that San Onofre Knew About Problems Years Earlier | Fairewinds Energy Education
SEN. BOXER SEEKS INVESTIGATION INTO CHANGES AT SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR SITE
Boxer’s letter in many ways echoes concerns raised last spring by nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen that Edison deceived federal regulators.
Gundersen, a former nuclear industry executive, found that the utility added hundreds of tubes to the generators and made other significant changes, yet represented them as “like for like” replacements.
“By misleading the NRC on the true nature of the replacement, Edison fooled the NRC into giving a rubber stamp and not conducting a thorough NRC review and approval process,” Gundersen wrote in a March 2012 report commissioned by the environmental group Friends of the Earth.
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer called for an investigation Wednesday into whether Southern California Edison, the operator of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, knew about major problems with steam generators that later experienced a radiation leak.
A 2012 report by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries found that it and Edison were “aware of serious problems with the design of San Onofre nuclear power plant's replacement steam generators before they were installed,” Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote in a letter to Allison Macfarlane, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
“Further, the report asserts that SCE and MHI rejected enhanced safety modifications and avoided triggering a more rigorous license amendment and safety review process.”
“We believe this alarming Report raises serious concerns about SCE's and MHI's past actions,” the lawmakers continued. “Safety, not regulatory short cuts, must be the driving factor in the design of nuclear facilities, as well as NRC's determination on whether Units 2 and 3 can be restarted.”
A probe of the issue by the commission is likely, given that Boxer chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the commission...