San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will not be able to start producing electricity until 2013 at the earliest, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
A public meeting with representatives of the NRC regarding the shuttered power plant was held Tuesday night in Dana Point. The meeting included hours of questions and answers with the NRC and Southern California Edison, the company that operates the generators.
Dozens of people gathered in Dana Point to talk about the many sides of the issue. The meeting ran from 6 p.m. until about 10 p.m.
The San Onofre plant's power generators -- Unit 2 and Unit 3 -- were deactivated in January. Unit 2 was taken off-line for planned maintenance. Unit 3 was shut down after a leak was detected in one of its steam generator tubes.
Last week, Southern California Edison, which co-owns the plant with San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside, submitted a plan to the NRC that outlines how it will restart Unit 2. The generator would be restarted at 70 percent power for a trial period of five months.
More inspections would follow.
Read: SCE Proposal Sent to NRC
NRC officials have said the agency has "several months" of work ahead before a decision is reached on the plant's future. One recurring issue brought up during the meeting was whether going back online would require an amendment to San Onofre’s operating license. This process could last into next year, NRC officials said.
The NRC's regional administrator, San Onofre Chief Nuclear Officer Pete Dietrich, Robert Oglesby and Ed Randolph of the California Public Utilities Commission, and nuclear energy activists attended the meeting. They answered questions from community leaders throughout the night.
Those representing SCE and in support of the plant going back online said doing so would be best for consumers, and would supply clean energy for Southern California.
Anti-nuclear activists pointed to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant meltdown after Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami as a reason to decommission the generators entirely.