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Problems continue for the San Onofre nuclear power plant

The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is seen on April 6, 2012.
The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is seen on April 6, 2012.
Grant Slater/KPCC

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Later tonight, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will present preliminary findings from its investigation of the San Onofre power plant. The plant has been shut down since a radiation leak appeared on January 31, and officials expect it to stay shuttered throughout the summer months while experts determine the cause of, and solution to, the problem.

Friends of the Earth, an environmental group, is not waiting for results to be released from the NRC. The organization has filed a petition to keep the plant closed until both regulators and the public are able to review the situation.

Friends of the Earth is pointing fingers at Southern California Edison, which failed to report design changes in plant tubing to the NRC, and the NRC itself, for not making public said design changes. The group is asking for the plant to go through a license amendment process, which will include public review akin to a legal trial.

How will these requests affect the timing of bringing San Onofre back up to speed? Is there any way for the plant, Edison and the NRC to fight Friends of the Earth? What will be revealed in the first step of NRC’s investigation later tonight?


Ed Joyce, Orange County Reporter, KPCC

Dave Freeman, former head of the federal Tennessee Valley Authority and a senior adviser to Friends of the Earth

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds. Fairewinds provided expert witness assistance to the Friends of the Earth commissioned report into San Onofre