Senator Barbara Boxer Reveals New Evidence that Southern California Edison Misled Safety Regulators and the Public About the Redesign of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant
May 28, 2013

Washington, DC - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today revealed that correspondence between Southern California Edison (Edison) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries presents major new evidence of misrepresentation and safety lapses by Edison.

The Senator plans to provide this correspondence to federal and state officials, including the U.S. Department of Justice, so they can determine whether Edison engaged in willful wrongdoing.

Senator Boxer said: "This correspondence leads me to believe that Edison intentionally misled the public and regulators in order to avoid a full safety review and public hearing in connection with its redesign of the plant.

"The correspondence shows that Edison knew they were not proceeding with a simple ‘like-for-like' replacement as they later claimed.

"In Edison's own words, ‘[t]his will be one of the largest steam generators ever built . . . It will require Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to evolve a new design beyond that which they currently have available'. . .[they] aren't ‘like-for like-replacements'. . . .

"Ultimately, Edison asserted that the replacement was ‘like-for-like', enabling them to avoid a full license review and a public hearing.

"The other shocking information I have learned from this correspondence is that Edison said if there were to be a failure of the steam generators due to tube wear and the need for tube plugging, this would be a ‘disastrous outcome.' Now that this precise failure has occurred, and there has been a leak of radioactive material, Edison claims that it could simply restart the nuclear plant at 70 percent capacity, and once again circumvent the full safety and licensing process. How could they first assert that tube failure would be a ‘disastrous outcome' and now claim that it is no big deal?

"Given this new information, it is clear to me that in order for this nuclear plant to even be considered for a restart in the future all investigations must be completed and a full license amendment and public hearing process must be required. This is simply a common sense approach."

The San Onofre plant has been shut down since January 2012 due to tube damage and a leak of radioactive material. It is still shut down, but Edison is pushing for a quick restart.

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