April 8, 2013 / 7:01 PM / in 5 years

California utility seeks license change to speed nuclear restart

HOUSTON, April 8 (Reuters) - Southern California Edison, operator of the damaged San Onofre nuclear station in California, submitted a license amendment request late last week to speed efforts to gain regulatory approval to restart one reactor in June, the company said on Monday.

SCE, a unit of Edison International, wants to operate Unit 2 at 70 percent power for five months as a way to prevent additional degradation of thousands of tubes inside the unit’s two steam generators.

Both San Onofre nuclear units have been shut since January 2012 following a small radioactive steam leak at Unit 3 which indicated a serious problem with accelerated degradation of tubes in the units’ brand new steam generators manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The utility has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to act on the amendment by the end of May to allow the restart process to begin by June 1. SCE said it wants the unit to be available to bolster grid reliability in Southern California when power demand climbs with warmer weather and increased air conditioning use.

SCE operates San Onofre for its owners: SCE (78.21 percent), Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric (20 percent) and the city of Riverside (1.79 percent).

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