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Rohrabacher wants moratorium on San Onofre-style nuclear plants

May 4, 2012 | 10:35 am

San Onofre nucelar plant

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) said after a tour of the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant that he plans to call for a moratorium on building old-style nuclear facilities and press the U.S. government to put its research money into building prototypes for safer nuclear power generation.

Rohrabacher joined a parade of elected officials -- including Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- who have made trips to the plant in the three months since operator Southern California Edison took it offline due to equipment issues.

Rohrabacher said he made the trip Thursday to find out whether the plant was secure from a terrorist attack and to find out about Edison's handling of safety concerns relating to the issues with the plant's steam generators.

The congressman said he was satisfied on those points but felt that the problems at San Onofre are the result of outdated technology in old-style "light water" reactors.

"There's no reason for us to build any more of the old San Onofre-type reactors," he said. "We should be moving forward very quickly to develop new nuclear technology."

He pointed to research being conducted by San Diego-based General Atomics, which is developing a compact fast reactor that runs on the spent fuel waste of old-technology plants.

Rohrabacher said he plans to use his seat on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to "pound the desk," and may introduce legislation to promote his position.


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-- Abby Sewell

Photo: The San Onofre nuclear plant. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times