The California Public Utilities Commission will meet today to decide whether or not to open a formal investigation exploring possible causes for the immediate shutdown of two reactors of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in January. The meeting will also include the discussion on whether or not the units can be restarted.
Units 2 and 3 of the power plant were shut down after a small radioactive steam leak almost a year ago suggested a possible problem with the newly installed steam generators.
San Onofre is the largest nuclear power plant of its kind in Southern California.
“There are issues about how much cost, if any, should be paid by rate payers and company owners,” the commission said in a statement. “Therefore, it is in the public interest to undertake an investigation into the facts and circumstances of the outages, for the purpose of exercising our statutory authority over rate recovery of associated utility costs.”
Since the plant’s shutdown, several questions have been raised regarding public safety as well. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced its intent to launch an investigation into the possible health risk factors the plant poses to neighboring cities, which encompasses 2.4 million people in locations including Temecula, Oceanside and Escondido.
The NRC commission is investigating concerns regarding the use of uranium to produce electricity.Evenwithoutincidents, the NRC says employing such an element may be damaging to people’s health even without any major incidents at the plant itself.
Prior to its shutdown, SONGS was responsible for generating 2,200 megawatts of power and was capable of providing approximately 1.4 million Southern California homes at any time.