By Jim Shilander
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected a petition last Thursday by environmental group Friends of the Earth for a license amendment review at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
The decision was made at a public meeting in Rockville, Md.
The license amendment review process had been championed by advocates of anti-nuclear activists as a way to get an outside review of the plant’s safety record and viability.
The Commission rejected FOE’s argument that a license amendment process should have been undertaken when the steam generators at Units 2 and 3 were replaced in 2010 and 2011. However, it did provide FOE with the ability to petition the chief administrative judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel to consider whether the confirmatory action letter sent to plant owner, Southern California Edison, by the NRC constituted a de facto license amendment and is subject to a hearing.
The decision also stated “restart of SONGS was not imminent.”
While the group expressed disappointment with the decision not to have the adjudicated hearing, it expressed positive feelings about other potential oversight measures announced by the commission, including a directive the commission’s staff to reexamine whether a license amendment review should have taken place, as well as whether a future license amendment review should be undertaken in light of past actions by Edison.