LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal regulators announced Monday they are considering slapping a
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a report that Southern California Edison failed to identify a flawed design for four replacement steam generators, which led to excessive wear to hundreds of tubes that carried radioactive water.
"There were opportunities to identify this error during the design of the replacement steam generators," the report concluded.
The trouble began in January 2012, when a small radiation leak led to the discovery of the extensive damage to tubing. The plant never produced electricity again.
The California Public Utilities Commission announced Monday it would consider a proposal that
"I want to assure customers that they will not pay twice for the costs associated with the outage of San Onofre while the CPUC investigation comes to its conclusion. This is a question of fundamental fairness to customers," said CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio.
The commission is scheduled to take up the proposal at its Oct. 31 meeting.
The federal agency does not regulate Mitsubishi. Separately, the NRC said in a statement it had issued a "notice of nonconformance" to Mitsubishi for problems associated with the design of the generators, which is an administrative step, not an enforcement action. It carries no financial penalty.
"Mitsubishi designed the system," Dietrich said. "Mitsubishi built the system. Mitsubishi's system failed. They are the experts. SCE was the customer."
Mitsubishi has said the generators "were designed and manufactured with SCE's full supervision and approval and in accordance with well-established and accepted codes and standards along with our own knowledge and experience plus that of outside experts."
In legal documents, the utility has claimed Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems are liable for the defective generators, along with costs ranging from buying replacement power to the investment in the now-shuttered plant that the company previously estimated at more than $2 billion.
David Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the NRC was obligated to complete its review at San Onofre, even though the plant no longer operates. With the reactors retired,
Even though the Mitsubishi notice carries no financial penalty, it could tarnish the company's reputation in the marketplace, Lochbaum said.