The Nuclear Regulatory Commission at the behest of two lawmakers confirmed Friday they would be investigating whether Southern California Edison knew of safety problems with new equipment before they installed them in the embattled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in 2009-10.
“Today, the NRC confirmed that an expansive investigation is underway into the completeness and accuracy of information that Southern California Edison provided to the NRC related to the replacement of the steam generators," Sen. Barbara Boxer stated in a release.
"The NRC has also confirmed that it is reviewing the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Report to determine whether Southern California Edison fully complied with its legal obligations. This investigation is a critical factor in determining
Boxer called for the investigation, accusing the companies of knowingly committing safety violations at the nuclear plant.
Mitsubishi manufactured the faulty steam generators, components which use radioactive water to boil pure water to turn turbines that make electricity. A January 2012 steam leak shut down the plant and revealed that the steam generators were riddled with faulty heat-exchange tubes.
Southern California Edison denies they were aware of safety problems before the installation, part of a $674 million upgrade project.
The national environmental group Friends of the Earth, leading a coalition of state and local groups, have accused Edison of ducking a license amendment process that would have caught the design flaws in the generators that led to the damage.
A public meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is scheduled for Tuesday in Capistrano Beach to update residents on the progress of deliberations. The NRC is deciding whether it will allow Edison to move forward with its plan to restart half the plant at partial power.