San Onofre Meeting, Oral Arguments Set

The Nov. 30 NSC meeting concerns the licensee’s response to the discovery of "unexpected wear" in nearly new steam generators after a leak inside a Unit 3 steam generator tube early this year.

Two Nuclear Regulatory Commission actions are coming up soon that involve Southern California Edison Co.'s two San Onofre nuclear power reactors in San Clemente, Calif. They are a Nov. 30 meeting concerning the company's response to an NRC letter on actions to be taken to address steam generator tube degradation at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and Dec. 5 oral arguments by an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on a challenge by Citizens Oversight to license amendments the company has requested.

Citizens Oversight filed a petition Oct. 17 requesting a hearing after Southern California Edison filed a request to amend the plant's license, changing some of the technical specifications under which the two reactors must operate. The oral argument will deal solely with Citizens Oversight's request for hearing. A different set of judges, at a date yet to be determined, will deal with a separate hearing request from Friends of the Earth filed in June 2012. The oral argument on the Citizens Oversight hearing request will be held from 1-4 p.m. at NRC's White Flint complex, 11555 Rockville Pike in Rockville, Md.

The meeting about the licensee’s response to the discovery of "unexpected wear" in nearly new steam generators after a leak inside a Unit 3 steam generator tube early this year will be held at a hotel in Laguna Hills, Calif. The company's response to the letter is available at http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1228/ML122850320.html.

The leak on Jan. 31 caused a shutdown of that unit. The other reactor, Unit 2, was off line for maintenance and refueling at the time. "Both units remain safely shut down and will not be permitted to restart until NRC has reasonable assurance they can be operated safely," according to the board's announcement. "The meeting will include a technical presentation by SCE on the basis, methodology, and conclusions of their efforts to identify the causes of the unexpected steam generator tube wear, the corrective actions taken to address those causes, and the basis for continued safe operation of Unit 2. The presentation and NRC dialogue is expected to require the majority of the meeting time. The public is invited to observe the meeting and will have an opportunity to communicate with the NRC staff after the business portion of the meeting, before it is adjourned."

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