The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission would have to approve the restart plans. Friday’s hearing gave U.S. NRC officials an opportunity to question Southern California Edison about the safety of the reactor.
Top Southern California Edison officials insist the reactor can be restarted safely.
“We have spent the last eight months really understanding this and making sure we know what the issue is,” said Tom Palmisano, Southern California Edison. “And know that the corrective actions for Unit 2 will be effective.”
The process doesn’t end with this hearing. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said a decision will take several months.
“We’ve got lots of questions,” said Victor Dricks, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. We’re going to be doing a lot of inspecting over the next several months.”
Dricks said there will be another public meeting before a decision is made.
“We have said that the plant would only be permitted to restart if we have reasonable assurance it could be operated safely,” said Dricks.
Despite Southern California Edison’s insistence that the reactor can be run safely, some people want San Onofre shut down permanently.
“Now they’re coming and saying ‘well you can trust us now and now everything will be fine,’” said Ray Lutz, Citizens’ Oversight. “And let’s experiment with this extremely dangerous plant.”
Lutz said there is nothing Southern California Edison could say that would change his mind. “There’s no way that this plant should ever start again,” said Lutz.
Friday’s hearing comes amid an investigation into possible sabotage to the Unit 3 backup generator. In late October a worker discovered engine coolant in the oil system. An internal investigation found evidence of potential tampering, but the cause has not officially been determined. Southern California Edison said the incident posed no safety risk, but the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was notified. The plans for a restart do not include the Unit 3 reactor.