But, as the NRC source noted, the NRC had not been scrutinizing operations and maintenance in that portion of the plant, leaving it entirely in the hands of the private sector.
The Weekly called the private office of Edison CEO John Bryson to inquire about management practices at San Onofre -- including maintenance in the portions of the plant not inspected by the NRC, as well as the use of the plant‘s generators noted by the NRC source -- and about his view of the enormous cost to the state caused by the San Onofre outage. After several calls, an Edison public-relations executive phoned back wanting to know what questions would be asked of Bryson, which short-circuited the dialog before it began.
Edison spokesman Golden says that repairs of the 200-ton generator rotor shipped to Virginia for repair are on schedule. Requests for a status report from the company doing the repairs -- manufacturer Alstom, a $20 billion-per-year European energy and transportation giant -- went unanswered.
Intriguingly, the manager of the state’s power grid, the California Independent System Operator, now controlled by appointees of Governor Gray Davis, was slow to cite the San Onofre outage among the factors underlying the blackouts. Indeed, state officials have had nothing to say about the San Onofre accident and outage, notwithstanding the extraordinary inconvenience of its having occurred in the midst of the power crisis. Davis is a friend of Edison CEO John Bryson, and has employed several current and former top Edison executives in dealing with the power crisis, including former Edison president Michael Peevey, another Davis friend, who serves as the governor‘s chief negotiator with the utilities.
With state efforts to solve the power crisis looking alarmingly stalled, the San Onofre accident, though not spoken of much by state government and most of the media (try finding more than a passing reference to it in Los Angeles Times coverage of the blackouts), looms very large.