San Onofre is a technological dinosaur and should be replaced with a more modern nuclear reactor , Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) said Thursday.
"There should be no new licenses issued to light-water reactors," he said. "We should utilize those reactors that are in place because we've spent tens of billions of dollars, but we shouldn't work to extend their lives ... not because of how unsafe they are now, but because we can be safer and more efficient. We have to realize that this is 50-year-old technology."
Rohrabacher spoke to the media outside the embattled plant Thursday afternoon after touring its security features.
The congressman said he was impressed with the measures San Onofre had taken to keep the plant safe from attack. He also said he was confident operators wouldn't try to restart the plant -- -- until it was safe to do so.
Rohrabacher said anti-nuke activists make legitimate criticisms about radiation risks and nuclear waste storage problems, but he said new technologies such as high-temperature, gas-cooled reactors and thorium reactors could make radiation leaks impossible and use current stores of nuclear waste as fuel.
"We could actually kill two birds with one stone," he said. "I think we could build a working prototype within five years, and we could have mass distribution in 10 years."
Rohrabacher said technicians told him San Onofre's current reactors could be up and running again as soon as June, but they wouldn't commit because they wanted to be sure it was safe to bring them back online.
The Independent System Operator -- the coalition responsible for allocating electricity throughout California -- if San Onofre remand cold through the summer. Rohrabacher from the array of energy production in the state.
"There are serious implications to not using the nuclear reactors that we have," he said.