San Diego Unified board to consider resolution regarding proposed restart of reactor at San Onofre

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education will consider a resolution on Tuesday opposing the proposed restart of a reactor at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station until its operator undergoes a rigorous license amendment process.

The nuclear plant in northern San Diego County was shut down nearly a year ago, after a small leak was discovered coming from a steam pressure tube in one of the reactors, called Unit 3. The other reactor, Unit 2, was not operating at the time due to scheduled maintenance.

Neither unit has returned to service, but plant operator Southern California Edison has proposed starting up Unit 2.

Opponents of plans to restart San Onofre said Edison should go through a license amendment process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because the steam generators that failed were of a different design than their predecessors. The generators were replaced a couple of years ago, and it was discovered that vibration was causing the tubes to wear out quicker than anticipated.

The school board resolution proposed by Trustees Richard Barrera and Kevin Beiser says "the San Diego Unified School District believes restarting the defective Unit 2 nuclear reactor at San Onofre will have profound impacts on our children in San Diego Unified and the surrounding communities in the event of a nuclear accident regarding radiation contamination of air, water and food, evacuation plans, and long term viability of life in Southern California."

The proposed resolution also expresses support for a California Public Utilities Commission investigation into the reliability and costs of the nuclear plant, especially compared to alternative energy sources.

Martha Sullivan, who is with the Coalition to Decommission San Onofre told 10News seven Southern California city councils have passed similar resolutions, but San Diego Unified is the first school district to consider the issue.

When asked why schools would step into the fray, Sullivan said, "The district is responsible for those kids... for evacuating them, for sheltering them in place, for food which very well may be contaminated."

The item is scheduled to be heard at the school board's 5 p.m. meeting.

Board members also have a special meeting at 9 a.m. to hear a presentation on how Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed state budget will impact district finances in the next fiscal year.

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