In a preliminary finding released on Wednesday, staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) found that Southern California Edison’s (SCE’s) request for a license amendment that would allow limited operations at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) this summer, does “not involve an increased risk of an accident or create the possibility of a new or different accident from those previously evaluated for its license.”

Both units at the two-unit plant have been shut down since early last year after accelerated wear was discovered in their steam generator tubes. Last week, SCE, which is hoping to run Unit 2 at 70% power for five months this summer to test repairs, filed a request for a license amendment with the NRC that would limit operations to that level for the current operating cycle. The agency’s determination will be open for comment for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, with an additional 30 days to make a request for a public hearing.

Opponents of the restart slammed the NRC’s finding as rushed. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) issued a statement after the finding was released calling it “dangerous and premature.”

Sources: San Diego Union-Tribune, NRC, Sen. Barbara Boxer

Thomas W. Overton, JD, Gas Technology Editor (@Thomas_Overton)