SCE Submits Updated Emergency Plan Reflecting Nuclear Plant Closure
Media Contact: Maureen Brown, (626) 302-2255
ROSEMEAD, Calif., April 24, 2014 — Southern California Edison (SCE) has submitted a revised emergency plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the San Onofre nuclear plant that reflects the plant's permanent shutdown.
The requirements for emergency planning at San Onofre are changing because most potential accidents related to an operating plant are no longer possible at shutdown nuclear plants where fuel has been removed from the reactor. The commission's review of San Onofre's request to revise the emergency plan and amend the plant's operating license will include an opportunity for public comment.
Tom Palmisano, SCE vice president and chief nuclear officer, said SCE developed the revised emergency plan based on commission guidance for decommissioning nuclear plants. He said the revised plan was submitted March 31 and noted SCE has briefed local agencies on the proposed change through the Interjurisdictional Planning Committee, which coordinates emergency planning in the region.
"We encourage public dialogue on this proposed change through both the NRC's process and the Community Engagement Panel established by the owners of San Onofre to advise us on decommissioning," Palmisano said. He noted that the commission's detailed review of the revised emergency plan typically takes about one year. SCE's three-part emergency plan submittal is available on the NRC website: Part I, Part II and Part III.
SCE's submittal, called a Permanently Defueled Emergency Plan, notes that it is no longer possible to have a radiological emergency beyond the San Onofre site known as the "exclusion area boundary" that would impact public safety. Subject to NRC review and approval, the revised plan would eliminate the two highest of four commission emergency classifications — Site Area Emergency or General Emergency — that are no longer possible at San Onofre.
Throughout the decommissioning process, San Onofre will continue to be subject to regulatory requirements for the commission's two lowest emergency classifications: an Unusual Event and Alert. Radiological and environmental monitoring will continue to ensure safety and environmental protection.
SCE's emergency plan submittal also means San Onofre now complies with NRC requirements against which a low-level violation was issued March 26 regarding the process SCE used to reduce emergency response staffing after the permanent shutdown of the nuclear plant. The violation was a process issue that reflects San Onofre's transition from operating to decommissioning and did not present public safety issues.
SCE demonstrated the effectiveness of its emergency plan at the current staffing levels during an NRC-evaluated emergency exercise last year.
In other decommissioning developments, SCE last month asked the commission to review and approve new technical specifications to reflect San's Onofre's decommissioning status. These Permanently Defueled Technical Specifications, like the revised emergency plan, update San Onofre's licensing basis to reflect current plant conditions. Members of the public may sign up for decommissioning updates by clicking here.
SCE announced June 7 that it would retire San Onofre Units 2 and 3, and begin preparations to decommission the facility. SCE has established core principles of safety, stewardship and engagement to guide decommissioning. For more information about SCE, visit www.songscommunity.com.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.