Documents spark concern, outrage over shuttered nuclear plant

The previously-withheld and heavily redacted documents were penned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), a Japanese firm that built the generators. Lawmakers and an advocacy group say they contain evidence that constraints were placed on measures that would have brought on an NRC safety review.

“These reports raise serious concerns about whether Southern California Edison and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rejected safety modifications to avoid triggering the more rigorous license amendment and safety review process,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

She said the plant should not be restarted until a full investigation is concluded.

Friends of the Earth, an environmental activist group, had stronger words for the utility.

“Edison clearly knew about design problems with the San Onofre replacement steam generators yet failed to take corrective action,” said Damon Moglen, the group’s energy and climate director. “Instead Edison gambled with the safety of millions of Southern Californians.”

Southern California Edison responded to the criticism Friday, saying the utility complied with industry standards and best practices with regard to its oversight of MHI’s design review.

“SCE would never, and did not, install steam generators that it believed would impact public safety or impair reliability,” said Pete Dietrich, SCE senior vice president and chief nuclear officer.