UPDATE 1-NRC may issue decision in March on San Onofre 2 reactor restart
HOUSTON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) may issue a decision in March on whether operators of the damaged San Onofre Unit 2 nuclear reactor in California can restart the unit, according to a timeline on the agency's website.
Both San Onofre reactors, which are owned by Edison International and Sempra Energy, have been shut since early 2012 after the discovery of premature tube wear in the units' steam generators.
The posting is the first indication from the agency about the status of its review process and a schedule to decide whether Unit 2 can safely restart.
The NRC staff plans to meet with representatives of Edison's Southern California Edison utility Tuesday to discuss details of the company's plan.
SCE's plan to restart the 1,070-megawatt reactor calls for running the unit at 70 percent of capacity for five months, then shutting it to inspect for additional wear on damaged tubes within the reactor's steam generators.
Another public meeting is scheduled in Southern California in mid-February to discuss the inspections and technical review, the NRC said.
If inspection activity is complete, a report may be made public in late February or early March, followed by a notification to parties of the NRC's intent to issue a decision.