San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

It has requested a meeting with the NRC for a possible license amendment, which could speed up the process. Critics want full hearings before a restart.

By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
March 23, 2013, 10:00 p.m.

The operator of the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant might request a license amendment before restarting the plant through an expedited process that would not require public hearings before a restart.

Southern California Edison said Friday that it has requested a meeting with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to discuss the possible license amendment. The NRC has not yet responded.

Also Friday, a special NRC panel heard arguments from Edison and Friends of the Earth, an environmental group that has pushed for the commission to require a license amendment with a full trial-like public hearing process before deciding whether to allow the plant to fire up again.

The panel did not rule on the issue Friday, and that proceeding is separate from the one that would take place if Edison submits a license amendment request.

The plant has been out of service for more than a year because of unusual wear on tubes in its recently replaced steam generators. Edison has proposed to restart one of the plant’s two reactor units — where the damage was less severe — and run it at 70% power in hopes that operating at reduced power would eliminate the conditions that led to the wear.

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