California Sen. Barbara Boxer said Thursday that federal regulators might be improperly concealing documents on a long-running investigation at the now-closed San Onofre nuclear power plant.
In a letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane, Boxer said that certain documents related to the ongoing probe at the seaside plant “may have been removed” before they were released by the NRC to her office.
The Democrat heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“Any effort to obstruct or impede my oversight activities is unacceptable,” Boxer wrote.
The NRC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The agency has disclosed previously that its Office of Investigations and Office of the Inspector General are conducting probes into “allegations of willful wrongdoing” at San Onofre, but provided no details.
The plant between San Diego and Los Angeles was shut down in January 2012, after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of virtually new tubes that carry radioactive water.
Operator Southern California Edison announced in June it would shutter the plant permanently, after a long and costly fight over whether it was too damaged to operate safely.
Boxer said materials delivered to the committee by the NRC in June contained two indexes, one full and one partial, of records that were included, raising questions about the agency's transparency. She said staff discovered “portions of a second index that lists records that do not appear in the boxes delivered to my office.”
She requested Macfarlane release a complete second index, along with the documents listed on it.
She also asked the agency to produce any documents or emails “that relate to any direction to NRC staff to withhold documents from me or describe the types of documents that should be withheld.”