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Southern California Edison (SCE) is considering voluntarily submitting a license amendment request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to support the restart of Unit 2 of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The amendment is consistent with SCE’s plan to operate the unit’s steam generators at 70 percent power as a conservative safety measure.
SCE is requesting a meeting with the NRC to discuss the possible amendment. This meeting, which would be open to the public, would provide an opportunity for SCE to discuss with the NRC the scope and content of a potential amendment to ensure it meets regulatory requirements. The meeting will also help SCE evaluate the nature and timeliness of the NRC process for review and approval of the amendment. Separately, SCE representatives have informed the Atomic Safety Licensing Board, the independent, adjudicatory arm of the NRC, of the company’s consideration of submitting a license amendment.
SCE would like to restart Unit 2 by the summer to meet peak customer demand for electricity. The San Onofre nuclear plant is the largest source of baseload generation and voltage support in the region and is a critical asset for reliability and in meeting California’s clean energy goals.
Last week, SCE submitted a detailed
operational assessment requested by the NRC that supports safe operation of Unit 2 at 100 percent power for 11 months to answer a request from the NRC related to the plant’s technical specifications. Approval of that assessment would eliminate the need for the license amendment. However, because the NRC may take substantial time to review this operational assessment, SCE is simultaneously considering the license amendment.
“We want to do every responsible thing we can do to get Unit 2 up and running safely before the summer heat hits our region,” said Ron Litzinger, SCE president. “While the NRC continues to review the technical materials we’ve submitted, we’re considering a request for a license amendment so that we can pursue the best path to safe restart while avoiding unnecessary delays.”