FOE blasts San Onofre for deceptive shortcuts on safety, NRC for turning blind eye; demands full public hearings on license amendment re: defective steam generators
Friends of the Earth (FOE) today unveiled a legal challenge against any premature restart of the currently shut down San Onofre nuclear power plant. FOE has provided a summary of its legal intervention. Its full petition is also posted online. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen has provided an expert declaration supporting FOE's petition. FOE's motion seeking a stay on San Onofre's restart is also posted.
As reported by the L.A. Times, FOE "...filed a legal petition with the NRC on Monday asking the agency to launch a full license amendment process, including a trial-like public hearing, to review the design changes in the new steam generators...Arnie Gundersen, a consultant for Friends of the Earth, has argued that Edison did not report all of the significant design changes to the NRC and that the NRC allowed the steam generator replacement to go through a streamlined review when it should have gotten more extensive scrutiny."
In a media release, Damon Moglen, FOE's climate and energy director stated: “The crisis at San Onofre is the result of a perfect storm of error. On the one hand, Edison made significant design changes without seeking an amendment to its license as required by NRC regulations; on the other hand, the NRC appears to have been asleep at the regulatory wheel. The result was the failure of critical equipment that could endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions of Southern Californians, and leaves California ratepayers stuck with the bill for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of defective technology.”
FOE has accused San Onofre's owners of misleadingly claiming the replacement of steam generators at its two reactors was "like for like," thereby sidestepping a detailed NRC oversight review, as well as public hearings on a license amendment. In truth, San Onofre's defective replacement steam generators are very unlike the old, degraded ones they replaced, even NRC's regional administrator Elmo Collins has now publicly admitted.
AP has reported that NRC has now confirmed what FOE and Gundersen revealed months ago: design changes have led to the nearly brand new steam generator tube failures. North County Times has also reported on the anticipation amongst San Onofre watchdogs in the lead up to a meeting Monday night, at which an NRC "Augmented Inspection Team" will publicly report the status of its findings thus far.
Nuclear Free California has posted videos of the speakers at Friends of the Earth's press conference, the day of launching their petition for an NRC adjudicatory hearing on the license amendment that SCE should have applied for, but never did. The speakers included FOE's Damon Moglen, Donna Gilmore (local grassroots watchdog on San Onofre), Dave Freeman (former head of the TVA, now senior advisor to FOE), Arnie Gundersen (Fairewinds Associates nuclear engineer), and Crystal Coleman, an area resident with three children who feels compelled to get involved and speak out to protect their future.