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City to adopt resolution regarding San Onofre

'We won't restart until we and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are satisfied about safety,' an Edison spokeswoman says.

August 09, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • A surfer walks along the beach just north of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
A surfer walks along the beach just north of the San Onofre… (Don Bartletti,…)

The City Council made it clear that it planned to approve a resolution listing complaints about San Onofre's operation and concerns about its future, but that didn't keep the public from expressing opinions.

Speakers came from San Clemente, Washington, D.C., Mission Viejo and Laguna to Tuesday's meeting, where they castigated Southern California Edison for its management of the nuclear power plant and the nuclear industry in general.

They complimented the city for its proposed resolution, which demands that Edison not restart its San Onofre generators unless it completes a transparent public process regarding their replacement, and they commended the city for telling Edison it shouldn't make customers pay for its mistakes. The resolution also called for a review of the financial status and viability of San Onofre.

"We have done without San Onofre for seven months," said Laguna Beach resident Theresa Cordova, one of the 15 speakers. "We don't need it. Just turn off the air conditioners and open windows."

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San Onofre's Unit 2 was shut down Jan. 9 for a planned outage, according to a press release issued by Edison. Unit 3 was taken offline Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in a steam generator tube.

The city also took the position that the alternatives to San Onofre, including renewable energy sources, are needed and should be explored.

Mayor Jane Egly and Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger sponsored the resolution. In their report to the council, they noted the significant concern in South County about the safety and long-term viability of the aging San Onofre plant since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Like Japan, Southern California is plagued by earthquakes and San Onofre, like Fukushima, sits next to the Pacific Ocean.

Edison representative Jo Ellen Chatham said the safety of the public and Edison employees are the utility's first priority.

"We won't restart until we and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are satisfied about safety," Chatham said.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman thanked Edison for what it does well, but pointed out that San Onofre had the highest rate of whistle-blowers for four years in a row.

"We have a plant with the worst safety record in the country and we have the chance to close it," Iseman said.

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