June 21, 2019

Representative Levin Presses Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Review Dismal Safety and Transparency Record at SONGS and Reconsider Requests for Inspector

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) wrote to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Kristine Svinicki pressing the NRC to review the dismal safety and transparency record at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) and reconsider his request for an NRC inspector at the facility, particularly during any future fuel transfer activities. Representative Levin is scheduled to meet with Svinicki in the coming weeks regarding safety and transparency at SONGS.

“The NRC’s mission statement clearly affirms that the Commission has a responsibility to provide ‘adequate protection of public health and safety.’ As I look back at recent incidents at SONGS, I see a record that demands greater NRC intervention,” wrote Levin. “I would like to be able to tell my constituents that they should be comforted to know that the NRC is genuinely committed to protecting their safety. However, a review of your recent record fails to provide that comfort.”

“Each incident at SONGS listed in this letter was thought to be the last after they became public. You have a responsibility to take every action available to minimize the chance of future incidents. I would be incredibly disappointed if history repeats itself,” Levin added.

Congressman Levin also asked Svinicki if the NRC has statutory authority to assign an inspector at SONGS at all times that transfer activities take place, and if the NRC has funding available for an inspector at SONGS.

Last month, Representative Levin strongly criticized the NRC’s decision to allow Southern California Edison to resume spent nuclear fuel loading at SONGS. He also called on the NRC to institute “the highest possible level of oversight and transparency” at SONGS, including a full-time inspector at the facility. 

Levin introduced legislation to prioritize the removal of spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned nuclear sites in areas with large populations and high seismic hazard, such as SONGS. He also secured $25 million in pending federal appropriations legislation for a consolidated interim storage (CIS) program at the Department of Energy (DOE) to remove spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plant sites across the country.

Click here to read Representative Levin’s letter to Chairman Svinicki.