Don Mosier | Del Mar City Council
Just when you thought that Southern California Edison (SCE) couldn’t rise to any more blatant disregard for public safety, they did. On April 5th, SCE submitted a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for an expedited license amendment hearing to restart unit 2 at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations (SONGS). The letter proposed to “add a footnote” indicating that 70% power was the same as 100% power, and that the expedited hearing can take place without public input because the requested change involves “No Significant Hazards.” This bureaucratic end run is not the full, adjudicated public license amendment hearing that Del Mar and many other cities have called for, but a private ruling by the NRC with a requested restart date of June 1st.
Our City Council submitted a letter to Senator Boxer and Congressman Markey opposing this strategy after discussing the issue at our April 1st meeting. Here is Senator Boxer’s response to the SCE April 5th filing and the initial NRC response:
“The NRC staff proposal, which could pave the way for the restart of the San Onofre nuclear power plant before the investigations of the crippled plant are completed, is dangerous and premature. It makes absolutely no sense to even consider taking any steps to reopen San Onofre until these investigations look at every aspect of reopening the plant given the failure of the tubes that carry radioactive water. In addition, the damaged plant is located in an area at risk of earthquake and tsunami. With eight million people living within 50 miles of this plant, the staff proposal is beyond irresponsible.”
The SCE contention that we cannot get through another summer without SONGS is their argument for the restart. Restarting Unit 2 at 70% power will provide only 35% of the power of SONGS at full operation, and this power will be far more expensive than any other source available. The California Independent System Operator (CA ISO) that operates the electrical grid in California has already made plans for power support for this summer, and new solar and wind energy sources are coming online to replace the lost SONGS generation capacity. Energy conservation provides an additional important support to the grid, and one to which we all can contribute. Turn off your air conditioner and head to the beach this summer, or visit the SDG&E website www.sdge.com/save-money/easy-and-affordable-ways-save/easy-energy-savings-tips or their Energy Innovation Center at 4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. to get additional tips for reducing your energy use.