SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - California Attorney General Kamala Harris is reportedly looking into creating an independent committee to monitor a troubled nuclear power plant.

Inside Climate News reported Monday that Harris' office is considering the idea to watch over the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and keep the public better informed.

The plant, operated by Southern California Edison, is located on California's Pacific coast, in the northwest corner of San Diego County, south of San Clemente.

The site is surrounded by the San Onofre State Park and is next to Interstate 5, a major highway linking such cities as San Diego, Santa Ana, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

The plant's two reactors -- units 2 and 3 -- have been shut down since January due to premature wear found on tubes in steam generators.

The wear apparently contributed to the accidental release of a small amount of radioactive steam.

The problem will keep the plant closed through next month, at least.

Nuclear scientist Robert Budnitz, a member of Diablo Canyon's Independent Safety Committee, told Inside Climate News that three members of the Attorney General's Office talked about creating a similar panel for San Onofre at a meeting in March.

"They asked the question, 'How come there isn't a committee just like this for San Onofre?'" he told the publication.

"They expressed an interest in the possibility that perhaps the state would appoint such a committee, and asked us whether we thought that if that happened that would be a benefit, and I said, 'You bet it's a benefit. We think it's a benefit here.'"

Harris' office has declined to comment on any plans it may have for creating such a committee.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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