Southern California Edison has replaced the current chief nuclear officer at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station with an Edison executive who used to work at the plant, it was reported Tuesday.
Effective Nov. 12, Douglas Bauder will take over as project leader, heading operational and contract services, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Bauder’s responsibilities include overseeing all transfers of spent fuel canisters and handling efforts to decommission the facility, according to the Union-Tribune.
The current vice president of decommissioning and chief nuclear officer at the site, Tom Palmisano, will remain at the plant but will focus on external engagement efforts, like communicating with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, California regulatory bodies and the Community Engagement Panel that meets quarterly to address questions and concerns of those who live and work near the plant, according to the Union-Tribune.
Bauder, who currently serves as vice president of operational services and chief procurement officer at Edison, has almost three decades of experience in the nuclear industry and served as San Onofre plant manager from 2009 to 2013.
The leadership change comes as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting a special inspection at the plant following an incident in August when a 45-ton canister filled with spent nuclear fuel ended up being lodged in a storage cavity as it was transferred from a wet storage pool to a dry cask storage facility at the site.
Contractors for Holtec International at first thought the canister was safely lowered but it was actually caught on an inner-ring of the enclosure, about 18 feet from the floor, for about 45 minutes to an hour, the Union-Tribune reported.
Palmisano told the newspaper that the incident posed no danger to workers or to the public. However, he suspended all future transfers until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission completes its inspection report.
In October, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued preliminary findings of its inspection that mentioned a series of “deficiencies involving training, equipment, procedures, oversight and corrective actions” on the part of Edison regarding the Aug. 3 incident, the Union-Tribune reported.
Edison intends to move 73 canisters from wet storage pools to the newly constructed dry storage facility.
Twenty-nine have been moved so far and the company expects to transfer the remaining 44 canisters by the middle of next year, according to the Union-Tribune.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to release a final inspection report later this month.