Southern California breaking news and trends

No timeline for restarting San Onofre, says NRC chair

Grant Slater/KPCC

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

Days after Southern California Edison said there was hope for a possible restart of the San Onofre nuclear plant in June, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a statement saying there was no timeline planned for a reopening.

The statement, released Monday by Chairman Gregory Jaczko, says the agency will take "whatever time is necessary" to review exisiting and pending documentation on repairs and issues at the plant. 

Both reactors have been offline for more than three months following a radioactive gas leak and evidence of excessive and unusual wear on the tubing inside the steam generators.

Federal approval will be required to boot up the plant. Jaczko says to even discuss that possibility at this point is "premature."


STATEMENT FROM CHAIRMAN GREGORY JACZKO ON SAN ONOFRE RESTART:

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NRC requiring modifications to every U.S. nuclear power plant

san onofre nuclear power plant atomic

Jason Hickey/Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. nuclear power plants have until the end of 2016 to comply with new safety recommendations released Friday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

Plants were ordered to begin immediately implementing the upgrades in an effort to prevent a large-scale radioactive crisis like what occurred last year at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami.

Recommendations were laid out in a three-part plan. Two points apply to every U.S. commercial nuclear power plant, including those under construction and recently licensed new Vogtle reactors. One point only concerns a specific type of containment structure, said the NRC in a press release.

  • The first Order requires the plants to better protect safety equipment installed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and to obtain sufficient equipment to support all reactors at a given site simultaneously.
  • The second Order requires the plants to install enhanced equipment for monitoring water levels in each plant’s spent fuel pool.
  • The third Order applies only to U.S. boiling-water reactors that have “Mark I” or “Mark II” containment structures. These reactors must improve venting systems (or for the Mark II plants, install new systems) that help prevent or mitigate core damage in the event of a serious accident.

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