San Onofre: Did Edison submit false information to NRC?
- SAN ONOFRE: Did Edison Submit False Information to NRC?
>Friends of the Earth demands release of leaked reportWASHINGTON, Feb. 12 – Southern California Edison,
operator of the San Onofre nuclear reactors, appears to have submitted
false information to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Friends of the
Earth charged today. The nuclear watchdog again demanded the release of a suppressed report that two senior members of Congress say shows Edison
had prior knowledge of potential design flaws in replacement steam
generators that failed after less than two years of service.
In a letter to the NRC’s Petition Review Board, Friends of the Earth
said the report, as described by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and
Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.), contradicts Edison’s
declarations to the Commission last month. The utility claimed it had no prior knowledge of deficiencies in the design of the generators until
they failed in January 2012.
Details of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries report were released last
week by Sen. Boxer, Chairwoman of the Committee on Environment and
Public Works. She did not release the report, but in a letter to the NRC she and Rep. Markey said Mitsubishi told Edison of potential problems
with the new generators, but modifications to correct the design flaws
were not adopted, as Edison wanted to avoid triggering an NRC license
amendment process. This would have required a more thorough and public
review of the replacement program.
Friends of the Earth also demanded that the Petition Review Board must consider the document in proceedings currently underway. The Review
Board, in response to a petition from Friends of the Earth, is
determining whether Edison improperly failed to apply for a license
amendment before installing replacement steam generators of a radically
different design than was permitted under the reactors’ operating
“The Mitsubishi document appears to confirm our case before the
Petition Review Board,” said Kendra Ulrich, nuclear campaigner at
Friends of the Earth. “Edison made radical design changes while
representing the steam generators as a like for like exchange and then
actively chose not to address critical safety issues in order to avoid
the license amendment process. Now it appears it also submitted
information that is patently false.
"The Mitsubishi report must be released immediately," said
Ulrich. "The public has a right to know what Edison knew and when it
Pressure is mounting daily for release of the document. On Friday, the NRC confirmed that it has opened an official investigation into the replacement steam generator case. Still, the Commission maintains
that the Mitsubishi report is proprietary. In fact, it won’t even be on
the agenda for the public meeting the NRC is holding tonight to discuss
the experimental restart proposal.
"Open disclosure and discussion of this document is critical to the
public’s understanding of this controversial restart plan," said Ulrich. "This is the same corporate actor that apparently gambled on safety in
the past, and they are asking the NRC to allow them to do so again."
In an editorial Sunday, The Los Angeles Times rebuked the NRC for not releasing information the public needs, and noted that
the Mitsubishi report could not only be decisive in the NRC’s
proceedings but in the investigation of Edison by the California Public
Utilities Board. The Times said:
Release the report so that ratepayers, who are paying the tab for the
purchase of the steam generators, and the public, whose safety depends
on responsible operation of the plant, can determine the truth . . . The
NRC should make the document public, and soon. It might provide an
important description of how Edison makes its safety decisions, and it
could become a key aspect of the Public Utility Commission's inquiry
into whether ratepayers should be forced to continue paying for the
steam generators . . . What the public is entitled to is information
about who knew what and when.
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