San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station operator Southern California Edison mentioned that it may seek a regulatory license amendment for the plant in a hearing before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission\u2019s Atomic Safety & Licensing Board. If the utility follows through, that would set a full hearing over the facility\u2019s steam generators. \t\u201cWe do not admit we need [a license amendment], but we\u2019re considering a voluntary license request,\u201d Edison attorney Steve Franz said March 22. \tThe information came in the midst of the regulatory panel\u2019s consideration of a Friends of the Earth request for such a hearing. Friends attorney Richard Ayres called the move \u201cshocking.\u201d \tFriends has been pushing for a full evidentiary hearing retroactively on the $670 million steam generators because it claims Edison circumvented evaluation when it proposed to install them nine years ago. \tAt the same time the Edison attorney said the utility is attempting to meet with commission staff to determine the efficacy of filing a license amendment for a full hearing, he argued that in the Friends\u2019 motion, a hearing is \u201cnot appropriate,\u201d urging the panel to dismiss Friends\u2019 petition. \tIf the commission \u201caccepts Friends of the Earth\u2019s position, it sets a horrible precedent for the industry,\u201d Franz said. Commission staff sided with Edison. \tFranz said that the utility is attempting to restart unit 2 at the nuclear plant on a trial basis\u2014five months at 70 percent power\u2014to review how well the steam generators are operating. \t\u201cIt\u2019s not permanent,\u201d he said. If it were a permanent restart, Edison would seek a license amendment. \tSan Onofre last operated in January 2012. It was shut down when unit 3\u2019s steam generator tubes ruptured and released radioactivity into the environment. The nearly new steam generators exhibited excessive wear, and the plant has not been online since then. While Edison is seeking restart at the federal commission level, the California Public Utilities Commission is reviewing the facility\u2019s management to determine whether the cost of the plant should remain in rates. \tThe licensing board did not rule on Friends\u2019 motion by press time. Commission staff set a meeting to discuss a potential license amendment April 3.