August 18, 2012 (San Onofre)—Last month’s announcement by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stating that Southern California Edison (SCE) had complied will all regulations is yet another dangerous case of regulators looking the other way coupled with gutted unsafe regulations, according to local activist groups, including Residents Organized for a Safe Environment (ROSE), Citizens' Oversight, and the Peace Resource Center of San Diego.
"Either the regulations were insufficient and followed or sufficient but not followed, you can't have both,"said Ray Lutz, National Coordinator of Citizens' Oversight. "Our regulatory process must safeguard against radiation leaks, emergency shutdowns, and $670 million steam generators failing within months of installation. To say that nothing is wrong takes the cake."
The ruling is astonishing but not surprising to those watching the process since any admission by NR that the regulations were not followed would mean that federal regulators allowed SCE to flout regulations to avoid a costly (but much safer) license amendment process including public and NRC review, a release issued by activists suggested.
"It's a very sad commentary when regulatory agencies will allow transgressions to occur and will not speak out about them, to avoid scrutiny themselves," said Carol Jahnkow of the Peace Resource Center of San Diego.
Activists believe that any restart prior to CPUC determination of the cost effectiveness for the ratepayer is premature. Ratepayers should not be financially responsible for this debacle.
"California Edison's plan to restart reactor number two is extremely risky. Any restart could result is a cascading blowout, one tube influencing the next, and may even progress to a meltdown," said Gene Stone of ROSE, repeating a scenario described by nuclear industry expert Arnie Gundersen.
NRC officials said on July 20 that there would be no restart without public meetings and that SCE has not filed a response to the NRC action as of yet.
"The NRC plans to hold several more public meetings in the vicinity of the plant before making any decision about restart of either of the San Onofre reactors" said Victor Dricks, Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Region IV Arlington, TX.
The NRC covered for Edison at the June 18 public meeting as well, saying that the cause of the failure was excessive steam velocity without digging back to the ultimate root cause. Edison's many design changes are the obvious culprit, with NRC officials watching from start to finish, never speaking up to force SCE to use the normal license amendment process.
Activists say they are planning protest activities in response to this stunning coverup by the NRC and SCE.