From City News Service --
The operator of the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is expected to submit a restart plan for one of the two shuttered reactors about three weeks from today, but federal regulators say it may take them months to vet it.
At a recent U.S. Senate committee hearing on nuclear safety, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane said San Onofre operator Southern California Edison informed the NRC that a restart plan would be submitted by the end of the first week of October.
Once that happens, she said, NRC staff will review the plan in a process that "will be longer than days and weeks ... it will be on the order months,'' the Los Angeles Times reported.
As for the second shuttered reactor, Edison has no immediate plans to submit a restart plan for it, according to the newspaper.
San Onofre's two active reactors were both shut down in January.
One was shut down for planned repairs while the other was shut down abruptly when on Jan. 31, a faulty piece of equipment leaked a small amount of radioactive steam into the environment.
The incident led to the discovery that many more steam generator tubes were wearing out more quickly than expected.
In November, when the plant will have been out of service for nine months, state law will trigger an investigation in which the commission must consider lowering rates.
The investigation could eventually result in refunding money to customers so they would not pay the costs of a plant that is producing no power. Anti-nuclear advocates urge authorities to keep the plant shut.
Hundreds of stories, photos and videos in chronological order detailing the history of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station over the last two years are available here at our Patch topic page.