Safe to Reopen Nuclear Plant, Edison Says

A year after the seaside San Onofre nuclear power plant was shut down, its owner says it will be safe to reopen. Activists express alarm

A year after safety a radiation leak prompted the shutdown of California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant, owner Southern California Edison insists the facility can be re-opened safely.

Thursday is the anniversary of the controversial beachside plant’s closure, and activists plan to use the occasion to call once again to make the shutdown permanent.

But Southern California Edison, which owns the majority of the plant along with San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside, says its plan to re-open the facility is conservative – and safe.

“Safety remains SCE’s top priority,” the utility said in a statement released Thursday. Its plan to restart one of the two reactors “will get San Onofre Unit 2 back to providing reliable and clean energy to Southern Californians.”

Under its plan, the utility would not operate the reactor at full strength. Instead, it would only be used at 70% of its capacity. In addition, the company promised to close the plant for inspection within 150 days of starting it up again.

But activists in the communities around the plant oppose Edison’s plan to re-open the San Onofre, saying that it would not be safe.

“One year ago, a radiation leak nearly became a major nuclear disaster,” activist Donna Gilmore wrote on a website dedicated to opposing the plant. She and others are holding an event for opponents of re-opening the plant on Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. at the San Clemente Community Center.


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A public hearing on Edison’s proposal for the facility will be held by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Feb. 12 in Capistrano Beach.


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