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Letter to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane - San Onofre Nuclear Plant


Location: Unknown

The Honorable Allison M. Macfarlane
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
11555 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

Dear Chairman Macfarlane,

We are writing to request that you immediately confirm that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will take no action that could lead to any restart of the San Onofre nuclear power plant before the Commission completes its comprehensive investigation and provides a full opportunity for public participation.

Southern California Edison (SCE) is seeking to shortcut the license amendment process by urging the NRC to declare that a license amendment that would enable the restart of the San Onofre facility at 70% power involves no significant hazards. We believe that granting this request would put public safety at risk.

SCE's request to weaken its license requirements was made despite evidence showing that there could be a significant hazard from the operation of the deficient steam generators. We have already seen the unacceptable results of short circuiting safety reviews at San Onofre, and you provided assurances in a letter dated October 12, 2012, of the "Commission's commitment that the agency will not allow restart at [San Onofre] until the investigation is completed and the facility is safe to operate."

The NRC must complete its expansive investigation and safety review before making any preliminary or final decisions regarding a license amendment that could enable the restart of San Onofre, including the Unit 2 reactor. Anything less than that would fall far short of the kind of consideration the 8 million people who live within 50 miles of the San Onofre facility deserve.

We ask that you respond to this letter before the NRC takes any actions related to SCE's license amendment or restart plan. In light of SCE's efforts to expedite the restart of the plant, we would appreciate a response by close of business on April 10, 2013. If you have any questions, please have your staff contact Grant Cope of Chairman Boxer's staff at 202-224-8832 or Dr. Michal Freedhoff of Rep. Markey's staff at 202-225-2836.


Barbara Boxer
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Edward J. Markey
Ranking Member
House Natural Resources Committee

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