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Thursday, February 7, 2013

SCE Responses to Boxer / Markey Letter

It has now become fairly widely reported that Senator Barbara Boxer (D) and Representative Ed Markey (D) have written a letter to the NRC supposedly containing "smoking gun" information from a leaked (i.e., non-public) Mitsubishi report.  How they got this report remains open to question.

In response, Southern California Edison has sent out two press releases, which follow in the order of their dates.  To my way of thinking, the second is far more important; both are here for completeness.  My comment and a couple of links follow.

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{Press Release 1}

Southern California Edison Reacts to Congressional Letter

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Feb. 6, 2013 — Southern California Edison (SCE) is aware of the letter dated today by Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Ed Markey to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). SCE is fully cooperating with the NRC review process and is complying with all requests for information and documents related to the company’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. SCE leadership takes very seriously all allegations raised by the letter.

The plant has provided voluminous records, data, information and other accurate reports as requested in the months since the plant was safely shut down. SCE will continue its own internal work and we respect the NRC's inspection process. SCE is strongly committed to the transparent review of its operations at San Onofre and the safety of the public and its employees.

The plant’s Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9, 2012, for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline Jan. 31, 2012, after station operators detected a small leak in a steam generator tube. Each unit will remain shut down until the NRC is satisfied that the unit is safe to operate.

For more on the plant, please visit www.SONGScommunity.com, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SCE_SONGS and on www.facebook.com/SCE.

About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

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{Press Release 2}

Southern California Edison Addresses Congressional Letter

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Feb. 7, 2013 — The Feb. 6 letter to the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Ed Markey quotes portions of two sentences from a lengthy technical report that was prepared by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), not Southern California Edison (SCE). The report was submitted to the NRC by MHI months ago as part of the voluminous records, data, information and other materials the NRC has been thoroughly reviewing and inspecting as part of its consideration of SCE’s request to restart Unit 2 safely.

It is simply not accurate to suggest, as the letter does, that when they were installed “SCE and MHI were aware of serious problems with the design of San Onofre nuclear plant’s steam generators.” Indeed, MHI, the manufacturer of the steam generators, warranted the steam generators to be free from defects for 20 years after installation.

SCE would never, and did not, install steam generators that it believed would not perform safely.

SCE, like other utilities seeking to replace its steam generators, sought to purchase replacement steam generators that would meet or improve upon the safety standards and performance of the original steam generators.

SCE’s design specifications followed industry standards for compliance with NRC processes. In fact, SCE submitted two license amendments during the replacement steam generator review process, which the NRC approved.

The plant’s unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9, 2012, for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken off line Jan. 31, 2012, after station operators detected a small leak in a steam generator tube. Each unit will remain shut down until the NRC is satisfied that the unit is safe to operate.

For more on the plant, please visit www.SONGScommunity.com, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SCE_SONGS and on www.facebook.com/SCE.

About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

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Today, there will be a hearing with all the NRC Commissioners about the ongoing San Onofre issues -- no doubt why this Boxer / Markey letter "appeared" within the last 48 hours. 

For background on this situation, see this recent APR post with thorough links to a great deal of information.  Following the links from this post, you'll see that the NRC fully approved the design changes at San Onofre, and issued license amendments.  I myself have read through all of the presentations (even those for today, which were posted several days ago) and still see nothing that tells me that either SCE or Mitsubishi should reasonably have suspected that these steam generators wouldn't work properly when they were installed.

8:30 AM Eastern 2/7/2013
ATOMIC POWER REVIEW

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