Boxer, Markey demand San Onofre investigation

Senator, Congressman say new information indicates SCE overlooked safety

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California and Democratic Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts today (Feb. 6) wrote the federal Nuclear Regulator Commission (NRC) urging it to investigate new information indicating that Southern California Edison (SCE) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries were aware of problems with the design of the San Onofre nuclear power plant's steam generators before they were installed. Edison got permission from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in 2005 to install four generators. Mitsubishi manufactured the new ones. But two new ones lasted less than a year and two others lasted less than two years. Boxer and Markey, both of whom head environmental committees in Congress, have been provided new information indicating that Edison and Mitsubishi "were aware of serious problems with the design of the San Onofre nuclear power plant's replacement steam generators before they were installed," they said in the letter to the NRC.

"This newly-obtained information concerns us greatly, and we urge the NRC to immediately conduct a thorough investigation" into whether SCE and Mitsubishi failed to make necessary safety enhancements, say the legislator. States the letter, "All people in our nation, including the 8.7 million people who live within 50 miles of the San Onofre plant, must have confidence in the NRC's commitment to put safety before any other concern."


Markey has been a critic of the NRC for a long time, but the fact that he is running in the primary to take over John Kerry's Senate seat that is less than 90 days away tells me that his focus maybe elsewhere for the next few weeks. Boxer is the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee. One of the subcommittees is Clean Air and Nuclear Safety. That subcommittee has jurisdiction over the NRC. It would seem to me that she should be able to do a little more than "urge" the NRC. Just my opinion. Opinions vary.

tomjohnston: Of course she can do more than "urge." It's a euphemism...diplomatic political talk. Notice I used the word "demand" in the headline. Best, Don Bauder

Don Bauder, Yes, I did note your use of the word demand. However, I perceived that to be your choice of words. In all of the other accounts I read, WP, LAT, NYT, HP, etc, the strongest phrase I read was that she was pressing federal regulators. In fact, many accounts have Boxer's letter asking NRC Chairman Gregory Jackzo to thoroughly assess the conditions at San Onofre., similar to the letter she and Diane Feinstein sent to in March of 2011. I have reviewed the press releases on Boxers official Senate website and as recently as 8 AM this morning, there is nothing there; same thing for Rep. Markey. If you have a link to the actual release, please share. In any event, I doubt that the word Demand was used. As I said, I perceive the use of the word demand as your choice of words for the headline. Perhaps I didn't make my own point succinctly enough. As the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, whose Clean Air and Nuclear Safety subcommittee has jurisdiction over the NRC, it would seem to me that Boxer would have the authority to be able to compel the NRC to investigate. No demanding, no urging, no asking. instead, simpliy telling the chairman of the NRC that he WILL investigate. Admittedly, my career included neither time as a member of Congress nor the Chairmanship of a federal agency. But since the NRC is an independent agency and Boxer's committee has jurisdiction over it, it would seem that she , or the committee at the very least would have the power to compel.

First things first: San Onofre has been shut down for year and should remain closed. It's a dangerous mess. After the nuclear power plant is shuttered in the public interest, Senators Boxer and Mr. Markey can go after Southern California Edison and SEMPRA who owe ratepayers money for power that wasn't delivered and they can assess Mitsubishi for its product failures.

Just today on CBS there was a new report from seismologists that close-in undersea faults are now thought capable of producing mega-quakes along the West Coast of the United States. Many may recall the massive Seattle-area earthquake on Good Friday in the mid-1960's. Hello, San Onofre sits on its own fault and the plant's protective wall is now breached by hide tides -- never mind able to withstand a mega-quake tsunami.

The NRC is holding a public hearing concerning San Onofre in San Juan Capistrano on February 12 from 6 to 9 p.m.

monaghan: Amen to all your points. Notice that Boxer and Markey said that 8.7 million people live within 50 miles of San Onofre. That in itself is warning enough. Edison was careless because its first concern was its own profits. It did not put safety first. Somebody should tell it to do so. Best, Don Bauder

This threat against public safety gives Brown total justification to kick out, if not arrest, Peevey and his CPUC-SCE mafia today.

Fukushima is more than enough lesson on what Peevey-CPUC-SCE corruption can cause.

Anon: The problem is that Peevey, a former president of SCE, puts profits ahead of safety and consumer well-being. Greed, which is so deeply inculcated in our society, is at the root of this mess. California desperately needs a CPUC that worries about something other than utilities' earnings per share. Best, Don Bauder

Arresting and charging Peevey with creating a threat to public safety should get their attention, otherwise as you know far better than me because you taught me this fact of life over the years Prof. Bauder:

The First Rule of Capitalism is Greed Rules! regardless of consequences to the rest of us. The 2012 primaries proved this rule once again.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad