So Cal Edison's efforts to restart generator at San Onofre nuclear plant run into snag

Atomic Safety & Licensing Board demands documents

SAN ONOFRE, Calif. - If Southern California Edison thought it was moving smoothly toward firing up San Onofre's Unit 2 reactor, it received a rude awakening on Friday from the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.

The order from the board, which is an independent arm of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told Edison it needed the documents to oversee investigation of the problems last January that caused Edison to shut down the one remaining generator that was working. Board members said they needed to check the work of third-party contractors, like Mitsubishi, that have been investigating what went wrong with tubes that carry radioactive water.

"There are a lot of open and honest statements that could be very easily misinterpreted and misused," said San Onofre supporter Murray Jennex. Jennex is a professor at San Diego State University now, but for years, he was a manager at San Onofre. 

The agreement Edison finally made with the board was to keep the documents private and to only release them to the board, not the public. Jennex said Edison had good reasons to be concerned. 

"The NRC has a public reading room and a lot of filings and documents get automatically sent into that reading room, so Edison wanted to get confirmation that they would be kept private," Jennex said.

Ray Lutz is the head of the Citizens Oversight Project, a group that has long been critical of the San Onofre plant and of Edison. 

"They're just dragging their feet to try to avoid scrutiny," said Lutz.

He said after Edison's track record of operating the plant, the public has the right to know everything they are doing in regards to trying to restart Unit 2. 

"They designed this thing for $670 million and they blew it," said Lutz. "And so now, I think we have a right for the public to know. Let's make sure that they're not going to blow it again."

10News asked Jennex about the chances that San Onofre might never produce power again. He said those chances were "decent."

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