NRC approves less stringent emergency plan for decommissioned Southern California facility

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved a request from Southern California Edison to lessen the safety measures in the emergency preparedness plan for San Diego County’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) as the plant has permanently ceased operations.

The multi-unit, pressurized-water reactor has not had any units in operation since January 2012, and the reactor vessel’s spent fuel has been removed. The site’s licensing basis has been changing due to its decommissioning status, and the revisions to the emergency preparedness plan reflect that.

The new plan does not require an offsite radiological emergency response plan or a 10-mile emergency planning zone due to the significant reduction in risk of an offsite radiological release. Southern California Edison’s request also noted the decreased risk and range for accidents, and the company’s analysis was evaluated and confirmed by NRC staff before the plan was approved.

SONGS still has an onsite emergency plan and must maintain the capability to respond to an incident, while state and local governments will rely on comprehensive emergency management to address any incidents. SONGS is still required to notify appropriate government officials for emergency declarations.

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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