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San Onofre problems prompt possibility of policy change

San Onofre Nuclear Plant

Grant Slater/KPCC

The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is seen on April 6, 2012.

A rule allowing nuclear plant operators to replace certain equipment without prior approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is being reconsidered.

Speaking in North Carolina on Wednesday, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said the tubing trouble at San Onofre suggests the rules under which the generators were installed may need to be modified, the Associated Press reported.

The twin reactors, offline for months, will need federal approval to restart.  Plant operator Southern California Edison hoped to reopen in time for summer's peak energy use, however no projected timeline has been released.

Earlier this week, NRC Chairman Jaczko announced he will be stepping down from his post.

After nearly eight years on the Commission, I am announcing my resignation as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, effective upon the confirmation of my successor. My responsibility and commitment to safety will continue to be my paramount priority after I leave the Commission and until my successor is confirmed. 

The chairman was "championed by watchdogs for his cautious approach to nuclear power" and "criticized by Republicans in Congress for an overly hard-charging style," says the L.A. Times

Gregory Jaczko, who led the commission’s efforts to protect Americans in Japan during the nuclear crisis at Fukushima and played a key role in fighting the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain as a former top aide to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, came under scrutiny for what critics called an overbearing management approach at the agency.

 

PREVIOUSLY

Fairewinds report blasts safety claims at San Onofre nuclear plant

No timeline for restarting San Onofre, says NRC chair

Senator Boxer requests documents on changes made at San Onofre nuclear plant

San Onofre nuclear plant could restart in June

San Onofre trouble prompts visit by NRC Chairman Jaczko

San Onofre nuclear plant not allowed to reopen pending fixes, say feds

San Onofre reactors down indefinitely, power shortages possible this summer

San Onofre can't take the pressure, tubes fail test

Tubes pumping radioactive water are showing 'unusual' wear at San Onofre

Feds say tiny radiation leak may have occurred at San Onofre

 

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