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Officials say nuke plant safe

Regulators give the San Onofre facility a passing grade, even as another inquiry begins.

August 01, 2008|Elizabeth Douglass | Times Staff Writer

Despite the launch of its third special inspection in a year at Southern California Edison Co.'s San Onofre nuclear plant, federal regulators Thursday night assured the public that the coastal power plant is safe.

About 100 residents and officials from nearby communities came to hear the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's annual report on the plant, located near San Clemente.

Tony Vegel, the commission's deputy director of nuclear projects, summed up the plant's 2007 report card simply: "San Onofre was operated safely throughout the year."

He added, however, that more work was needed to prevent human errors and to thoroughly evaluate and resolve problems.

Joe Holtzman, a consultant from Mission Viejo, wasn't convinced.

"They're used to faking data," he said. "The NRC has to keep an eagle eye on these guys." Holtzman was referring to previously reported instances in which employees doctored or omitted required data or paperwork.

The latest special inspection begins next week to review an incident in March, when Edison workers found a loose electrical connection on an emergency battery that rendered it inoperable, commission spokesman Victor Dricks said.


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