Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, issued the following statement regarding the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) release of two documents prepared by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) concerning the replacement of steam generators at the San Onofre nuclear plant.
Although the two documents, "San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Unit 2 & 3 Replacement Steam Generators" and "Supplemental Technical Evaluation Report," contain significant redactions relevant to the ongoing investigation, critical information is contained in the unredacted portions of the documents. The unredacted text supports the concern that Southern California Edison (SCE) and MHI rejected safety modifications to avoid triggering a more rigorous license amendment and safety review process.
For example, the MHI documents reveal that constraints were placed on the replacement steam generator design to help the company take advantage of an exemption from the license amendment process and the safety review that accompanies it.
Senator Boxer said: "These reports raise serious concerns about whether Southern California Edison and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rejected safety modifications to avoid triggering the more rigorous license amendment and safety review process. That is why it is essential that the NRC complete its expansive investigation into whether Southern California Edison fully complied with its legal obligations at the San Onofre nuclear facility. A full investigation is critical to any determination on whether it is safe to restart San Onofre Units 2 and 3."
Rep. Markey said: "The documents released today show that Southern California Edison and Mitsubishi cut safety corners to avoid a new NRC licensing process. I urge the NRC to subject any plan to re-start these troubled reactors to the full and rigorous licensing process that should have occurred the first time around. We should not make the same mistake twice."
On February 6, Senator Boxer and Rep. Markey wrote a letter to NRC requesting that the concerns raised in the report be fully evaluated. The NRC responded on February 8 to Senator Boxer and Rep. Markey and confirmed that an expansive investigation is underway.