By Jim Shilander
Edison International President Ted Craver told investors on a conference call Tuesday that the Southern California Edison parent company would likely consider shutting down one or both units of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station if the utility was not given permission by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to restart Unit 2.
Both Units 2 and 3 have been shutdown since January 2012 after a leak was discovered in a steam generator tube in Unit 3.
There are two separate SONGS cases before the NRC that would allow for a potential restart this summer. The utility has submitted a proposal to run at 70 percent power for five months and then inspect the generator tubes in Unit 2 for additional wear, which it submitted as part of a formal investigation of what lead to the leak in Unit 3. The utility has also asked for a license amendment to restart the plant at 70 percent power, saying that doing so would provide no additional safety hazards to operate the plant. The NRC Region IV issued preliminary approval of the license amendment to allow for restart last month, but no formal approval has come from the agency as yet. The utility has indicated that if a restart is granted it likely could not start the plant until June 1 at the earliest.