Regulators delay decision on re-starting San Onofre nuclear power plant

Steam rises between reactors 2 and 3 at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Clemente, CA.
Steam rises between reactors 2 and 3 at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Clemente, CA. David McNew/Getty Images

It was one year ago this week that inspectors discovered a small leak of radioactive steam at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station — known as SONGS. Ever since, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has emphasized it is in no rush to re-open the plant.
 
“We at the NRC will certainly not approve SONGS to re-start unless we’re assured they can operate safely,” said chairman Allison Macfarlane earlier this month when she visited the plant for the first time. “We don’t have a timeline on this issue. We are taking the time we need to work through it.”

There may be no timeline, but the NRC’s website does list what it calls “milestones” for the restart.

Officials once said a decision could come in March. But according to the website, a decision could now come in late April or early May. That’s because the agency needs to do more inspections.  

On February 12th, the NRC will host another meeting near the plant to get public comment on the proposed re-start and provide an update on its investigation.

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