Yesterday, May 28, 2013, Friends of the Earth issued a press release entitled:
San Onofre: Internal letter reveals Edison knew of defects at crippled reactors but misled federal regulators to get expedited license
“This letter from Edison management is truly shocking,” said Damon Moglen, climate and energy director for Friends of the Earth. “It shows definitively that Edison was more concerned with keeping to a construction schedule and making money than with assuring safe operation of their reactors. It raises serious questions about their honesty and about the NRC’s handling of the San Onofre license.According to California Senator Barbara Boxer, the correspondence between Southern California Edison and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries demonstrates that "Edison intentionally misled the public and regulators," and her office is providing the correspondence to the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal and state officials so a determination about whether Edison engaged in willful wrongdoing can be made.
“The restart of San Onofre reactors is now off the table. No one can possibly argue for the further operation of these crippled reactors when such an experiment places the lives and livelihoods of millions of Southern Californians at risk.”
Dave Freeman, former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority [TVA] and now a senior advisor on nuclear issues to Friends of the Earth, made what may be a hopeful pronouncement based on this new evidence...
"The San Onofre restart plan is now deader than a doornail. It's over."Of course, this conclusion remains to be seen, given the cozy relationship between the nuclear industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Especially since the recent less than satisfactory (to the industry and its apologists/promoters on the commission) chairman Gregory Jaczko, who came out just last month with the observation that what he learned about the commercial nuclear industry while serving as chair of the NRC has caused him to reach the conclusion that they all need to be shut down, asap. Because (as many of us have been saying for decades, every chance we get, once you turn 'em on, you can't turn 'em off.
Much as I'd love to see San Onofre's two recently operating units (unit 2 and unit 3) join their sister unit and so many others* of the fleet that will never operate again and will not be replaced, I think both Boxer and Friends of the Earth are jumping the gun by declaring San Onofre's plants to be down for the count. Nukes lying to the regulators as well as to the public is nothing new, they've been getting away with it for as long as the technology has existed. No one should expect that to change.
Still, we can hope. Best of luck to the people of southern California on this. Maybe one of these days they'll get this stretch of precious beach back!
* Power reactors currently undergoing decommissioning (or completed) include Dresden unit 1, Fermi unit 1, Humboldt Bay, Indian Point unit 1, LaCrosse Boiling Water Reactor, Millstone unit 1, Maine Yankee, Connecticut Yankee, Trojan, Shoreham, Fort St. Vrain, Rancho Seco, Nuclear Ship Savannah, Peach Bottom unit 1, Three Mile Island unit 2, Vallecitos BWR, and Zion units 1 & 2. Most of these facilities still maintain tons of spent fuel in pools or casks on-site, and will continue to do so until there is a final repository for high level waste.
Spent Fuel in Storage (metric tons) map from NEI.