NRC Missed CA Nuke ‘Shortcomings’

Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 07:10 PM gHale

A federal inspector said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) missed the chance to find potential trouble with an equipment swap that led to the installation of faulty machinery in the San Onofre nuclear plant in California.

As a result, the plant closed last year by Southern California Edison (SCE) after a battle over whether it was safe to operate. It had been idle since 2012, after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of excessive wear in tubing inside virtually new steam generators.

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A report last week by the NRC’s Inspector General said a 2009 agency inspection failed to recognize “shortcomings” in the way the swap of steam generators ended up evaluated.

It also raises questions about why Edison was able to install the new generators without seeking a change in its federal operating license.

In September, plant owners said decommissioning San Onofre will cost $4.4 billion, according to a plan submitted by majority owner Southern California Edison (SCE).

The plan, summed up in three documents submitted to NRC, envisions major decommissioning work to begin in early 2016. The documents include a decommissioning plan, a cost estimate and how to manage spent fuel.

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