Protesters ask Edison to decommission San Onofre nuclear plant
Environmental and anti-nuclear activists gathered at Southern California Edison headquarters in Irvine on Wednesday calling for the San Onofre nuclear plant to be decommissioned and for the utility to implement more extensive conservation programs.
The plant has been shut down for nearly four months due to safety concerns over excessive wear on tubes in the plant's newly installed steam generators. Edison has yet to publicly say what missteps led to the wear -- which officials said was occurring because the flow of steam caused some tubes to vibrate excessively and rub against each other and support structures.
Edison officials previously suggested that running the plant at a reduced capacity might solve the problem by reducing the flow of steam. The activists stated in a letter presented to Edison that the proposal was "a dangerous experiment" and called for the permanent shutdown of the plant.
They also called for Edison to spend more money implementing conservation programs and suggested the formation of a working group to assist in developing plans for encouraging people to save.
The plant's shutdown has drawn scrutiny from elected officials, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, who asked Edison and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to produce documents relating to design changes in the steam generators and whether they were properly reviewed.
An aide said Edison is expected to send technical experts to discuss its response to Boxer’s letter with Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works staffers, including an overview of the design changes. That briefing is expected to take place later this week.
The activists called on Edison to make public any documents they give to Boxer.
-- Abby Sewell
Photo: Protesters gather outside the darkened San Onofre nuclear plant earlier this year. Credit: Los Angeles Times