Southern California Edison says that it is considering ‘voluntarily’ submitting a licence amendment request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in an effort to gain permission to restart San Onofre 2 before the peak summer demand period

SCE has recently submitted a detailed operational assessment requested by the NRC that supports safe operation of SONGS- 2 at 100% power for 11 months.

Approval of that assessment would eliminate the need for the licence amendment, according to SCE. However it said that: "Because the NRC may take substantial time to review this operational assessment, SCE is simultaneously considering the license amendment."

"We want to do every responsible thing we can do to get Unit 2 up and running safely before the summer heat hits our region," said Ron Litzinger, SCE president. "While the NRC continues to review the technical materials we’ve submitted, we’re considering a request for a license amendment so that we can pursue the best path to safe restart while avoiding unnecessary delays."

SCE said that if it pursues the amendment, it will submit a "No Significant Hazards Consideration" analysis demonstrating that the licence amendment does not involve any significant safety risks.

Either way, the plan is for SONG-2 to operate for five months at 70% power before shutting down for steam generator tube inspection. SONGS-2 and sister unit SONGS-3 have both been offline since January 2012, due to wear found in their steam generator tubes.