SONGS Next Steps: The Move to Decommission

Victor Dricks
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Region IV
 

songsdropquoteSouthern California Edison Co. has sent the NRC letters certifying that it has permanently removed all of the fuel from its Unit 2 and 3 reactors at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California. These letters are the company’s second certification – following its June 12 notification that it had permanently ceased operation – and officially move San Onofre into the decommissioning process.

Under NRC rules, Edison’s letters permanently end the utility’s authorization to operate those reactors. In addition, the NRC has notified Edison that the Confirmatory Action Letter of March 27, 2012, is no longer applicable. The NRC has terminated its inspection and review of all of the activities specified in the letter, which set forth terms and conditions necessary to prepare the reactors for restart.

Greg Warnick, the NRC’s Senior Resident Inspector, in the near term will continue onsite inspections of activities associated with decommissioning, site staffing levels and plant security and safety. The facility will remain subject to NRC oversight thoughout the decommissioning process.

Meanwhile, we expect Edison to request several changes to both units’ licenses to reflect the transition to decommissioning, while still meeting the relevant requirements for safety, security and emergency preparedness now that San Onofre is no longer operating. Planning is currently underway for an orderly transfer of regulatory responsibility from the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation to the NRC’s Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, which oversees decommissioning nuclear plants.

Planning is also underway for the NRC to hold a public meeting in the vicinity of the plant in early fall to explain the decommissioning process.

Edison is now drafting its decommissioning plan, which they must submit to the NRC by June 12, 2015, two years after they formally shut down the plant.