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Edison may have failed to inform on San Onofre, Markey says

Edison International, owner of California's second-largest electric utility, may have failed to fully inform investors about problems at its shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant, Rep. Edward Markey said.

The company didn't disclose an alleged decision to reject recommended safety modifications at the plant in Southern California because they would require a new license process, the Massachusetts Democrat wrote in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday.

Edison (NYSE: EIX) didn't know about design problems of replacement steam generators when they were installed at San Onofre, the Rosemead, Calif.-based company said in an emailed statement Thursday. The utility "would never, and did not, install steam generators that it believed would not perform safely," the company said.

Edison is seeking permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to restart one of its reactors at San Onfore, which has been shut since January 2012 because of generator tube wear. Markey has said the plant should stay closed until the NRC ensures that it can safely operate.

Probe sought

Markey said in the letter that the the alleged failure to disclose knowledge of steam generator issues before they were installed may be a violation of securities law.

Markey and Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Feb. 6 to investigate whether the utility and the supplier of the tubes, Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., knew about flaws with the equipment's design before it was installed. They cited a Mitsubishi report that hasn't been publicly released.

The nuclear regulator said it was investigating information that Edison has provided to the agency and was examining the report cited by the lawmakers.

Judith Burns, a spokeswoman for the SEC, declined to comment on the letter.

PG&E Corp. owns California's largest utility.

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