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Anti-Nuclear Groups, Nuclear Pros Dissect Restart Plan

Plant officials, independent experts, residents and the public discussed the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations during a packed Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting.

Some residents remain skeptical that the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station can restart one of its units safely, though plant officials assert the restart plan contains "conservatism upon conservatism" that reduces chances of an accident to virtually zero.

Thirteen panelists from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, California regulators, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, independent experts, local residents and anti-nuclear advocates publicly dissected the beleaguered nuclear plant's plan for restarting one of its shuttered reactors during a meeting on Tuesday in Dana Point.

A large number of building trades union laborers who work on the San Onofre site attended the meeting at the St. Regis Hotel, cheering loudly for the pro-nuclear panelists and prompting competing cheers and boos from anti-nuclear advocates attending the meeting.

Continuing Regulatory Process at the Trouble Plant

Panelist Elmo Collins, NRC Administrator from Region IV, was careful to mention that the plan was still months away from any decision on whether the commission would allow the plant to restart.

"What we will look for is if there's a sound engineering basis for why this [potential equipment failure] won't happen," Collins said. "We don't experiment with safety. We don't gamble with safety."

NRC officials have said any potential approval would take months of pouring over the 1,000-page document.

Anti-nuclear advocates and some residents have demanded a formal, adjudicated hearing process from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"There's really no way to move forward in a fair and acceptable way on this without an adjudicated hearing," said panelist Gene Stone of local Residents Organized for a Safe Environment.

That petition is before the five NRC Commissioners and hasn't been ruled on yet, Collins said.

Plans for the Restart

San Onofre Chief Nuclear Officer and panelist Pete Dietrich attempted to assure residents and other panelists the restart plan was technically sound.

One of the flaws that led to the small radioactive steam leak in January that shut down the plant was that steam generator manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries underestimated the heat and pressure that would travel through the tubes as the steam generators operated.

Dietrich said operators could run Unit 2 of the plant—the unit which had much less wear to its steam tubes and no leaks—at 70 percent power and only run it for 5 months. That operational period would be less than half the time Unit 3 ran before it sprang a leak. At the end of the five months, each tube would undergo another inspection.

Dietrich also pointed out that the tube supports in Unit 2 weren't installed loosely as were the ones in the generators of Unit 3, a fabrication— not design—flaw that helped lead to the wear on the tubes.

And, he pointed out that Unit 2 had already operated a full cycle of 21 months when it underwent a planned outage to add new steam turbines.

"We conducted 170,000 inspections of steam generator tubes and brought in outside experts we hired to dissect our analysis and convince us that we're wrong," Dietrich said. "That's why it's taken eight months."

When operating correctly, tubes in the generators carry superheated, radioactive water. The tubes act like a radiator, boiling pure water in a separate system that makes steam to turn a turbine, which makes electricity.

Shutdown Cost and Plans for Power Replacement

Robert Randolph of the California Public Utilities Commission, another panelist, said the commission would begin proceedings in a few weeks to investigate whether it would be worth it to keep running the plant, whether Southern California Edison could charge customers for repairs or whether they would have to pay money back.

Randolph did say, however, that running Unit 2 at 70 percent would provide significant support for making sure California could keep the lights on next summer.

Even so, both Randolf and panelist Robert Oglesby of the California Energy Commission, said their agencies were working on electricity plans for 2013 that don't include voltage from San Onofre.

Panelist Rochelle Becker, an anti-nuclear activist who has criticized the industry for its cost to ratepayers, asked Dietrich why ratepayers may have to pay for all the NRC inspection fines and outside experts.

"Where were all those people before?" she asked. "We have a series of broken promises, none due to ratepayer responsibility."

Dietrich said right now, plant operators were focusing on how to restart the plant safely, and would then work to determine responsibility for the plant failure.

More public meetings are scheduled with the NRC as its inspectors sift through the reams of findings. Further inspections are taking place at Mitsubishi in Japan, Collins said. The future of the more heavily damaged Unit 3 at the plant is still vague.

jennymofo October 10, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Solarcity can put panels on your home for no money down and the same monthly as your electric bill. I just did it!
Mike F October 10, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I was surprised, like many others, to finf how sloppy Japanese engineering was. They had all but adopted Deming and his work. American engineering has been as goog as it gets. Engineering schools in this country provide both a broad and narrow expertise unlike many schools abroad. I do not understand why this meeting was held before a backgrond report was issued. Have eight knowledgeable individuals prepare a combined report. Two on the state of nuclear energy and where San Onofre fits into that assessment. Two on the safety issues that must be addressed. Two on the regulatory, federal and state, requirements that must be met. And two on the condition of both San Onofre units. Once the report was published, then holding a meeting to dicuss the issues, the thoroughness of the report, and what would need further study would have provided greater insight rather than event venting.
Patricia Gatacre October 10, 2012 at 07:07 PM
re: San Onofre (S.O.?): Does anyone want to wear a dosimeter whenever they're home in San Clemente? Can we pleasantly envision stocking plenty of potassium cloride in our medicine cabinets....just in case? And now the BIG question...does ANYONE (including the airheads at Edison and NRC) actually TRUST the Japanese when nuclear power is the issue? C'mon...haven't we lived with elevated background radiation long enough? Close the PLANT...not just Unit 3. Thankfully, no one dares mention that old war horse, Unit 1. And what about the spent rods lying in wait underwater....disposal used to be done by hush-hush...train transport...speeding past all those innocents asleep in their beds...to some green, toxin-belching nuclear landfill far, far away. Where's the Don't Re-Start petition...my non-disfigured children are just DYING to sign it.
Gene Stone October 10, 2012 at 07:22 PM
This the best article I have seen on the Oct 9 NRC meeting today. Good job Adam.
San Juan October 10, 2012 at 08:05 PM
How much "Spent" fuel is being stored at the SONGS facility, and is the Unit 1 reactor still being housed there? How about the 4 old Unit 2&3 Steam Generators? If a Psunami hits and breeches the sea wall, what will it do to the Circulation Pumps? If sea water can't get out of the "bathub" will it reach the Diesel Generators that according to Tech Specs are allowed to be open for 14 day periods? Talking to SCE and the NRC is futile, the arrogance of their representatives is indicitave of the attitude that SONGS management has towards the public and the Unions.
Gail Payne October 10, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Thank you Gene, Cathy, Libbe and the many others who know the truth, and are fighting to expose it. It is way past time to stop taking this incomprehensible risk when safe alternatives exist. Nuclear power is not wanted, not needed and definitely not worth the risks.
Gail Payne October 10, 2012 at 09:12 PM
The same thing happened at the last Indian Point (NY's San Onofre) public meeting. We drove 3 hours round-trip to get there and none of the 5 of us had a chance to speak. So frustrating.
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Major points against SanO remaining in operation: 1. It is sited on Major Fault lines + the new NRC Director is a trained Geologist that knows faults. 2. SCE sneaked the RSG phony design past the NRC review process! 3. SCE/SanO has the worst operated reactor in the Country. 4. SCE has a long history of major Safety violations that is the worst in the USA. 5. SanO almost had a major nuclear accident because of SCE's "in-house" bad tube design. 6. Decommissioning SanO would instantly solve all the NRC SanO oversight issues. 7. The NRC knows that if they stop SanO from restarting, the Industry will get the message, to tighten up their operations. 8. It will make the NRC look great without making them look like they caved into the activists. 9. Restarting even under 70% power has MAJOR RISKS, as the DAB Safety Team has already pointed out, so why take ANY chances? As I see it, the NRC would much rather have all its SanO problems get Decommissioned and we can help by telling them N☢ SCE RESTARTS...
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:15 PM
From DAB Safety Team: The total tube damage at SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) to date: 1. On Unit 3 steam generators (SG): 8.5% of the tubes (1657 out of 19454 tubes on both SGs) showed wear of greater than 10% through-wall indications. 8 tubes failed in-situ pressure testing SCE completed extensive plugging and selective staking of 807 tubes and found 10,284 wear indications on 1806 tubes. 2. On Unit 2 steam generators (SG): 5.2 % of the tubes (1009 out of 19454 tubes on both SGs) showed wear greater than 10% through-wall indication. The total plugging for Unit 2 was 510 (205 tubes in 2E088 and 305 in 2E089) plus they found 4721 wear indications on 1,595 tubes. Now San Onofre has more tubes that are plugged and or damaged than ALL the rest of the entire US "Nuclear fleet" of reactors put together! That is how bad these SCE designed San Onofre's Replacement Steam Generators (RSG's) are and one of the main reasons they should never be allowed to restart them for any reason! Once started (at any power setting), they are a nuclear accident waiting to happen!
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:16 PM
CA now has a 40% ENERGY SURPLUS (more than we ever need) even without EITHER San Onofre or El Diablo being used with more clean and safe Solar (of all flavors) being added daily!
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Here is yet another source for much more info about SCE's 1.2 Billion Dollar RSG Design Debacle: http://decommission.sanonofre.com/2012/09/the-number-1-us-nuclear-safety-concern.html
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Something not mentioned at the meeting are the health implication of living near San Onofre: CHILD CANCER DEATHS SOAR IN ORANGE COUNTY In the most recent decade (1999-2009), the Orange County cancer death rate among children age 0-19 was 28% greater than the U.S. rate. This compares to just a 1% excess for the 30 years prior. A total of 312 Orange County children died from cancer in 1999-2009. The high rate in Orange County is statistically significant. While many factors can contribute to child cancer risk, radioactivity released into the environment from the aging San Onofre nuclear reactors should be considered as one potential cause. Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Wonder. http://wonder.cdc.gov/mortSQL.html
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Con't... NOTE: Any attempt by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's to conduct a study of cancer near nuclear plants represents a serious conflict of interest. For decades, the NRC ignored the health issue of cancer near nuclear plants in its decisions to grant new reactor licenses and extend existing ones, but it has consistently maintained that the relatively low levels of radioactivity emitted from reactors fall below federally-set limits, and are not harmful to the public. Thus, the NRC has demonstrated consistent bias on the health/cancer issue, and any study it commissions and manages will also be biased. Such a study can only be conducted by truly independent experts on this topic that have no connection/relationship to the NRC or the US Government. I heard that The DAB Safety Team is now working on getting the required funding to get this study done by an independent expert ASAP and hopefully it will be completed before any further Restart discussions take place!
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I hope the Patch will ask all our SoCal Leaders "on the record" who has taken money from SCE and or SDG&E and tell us what they find out! I've heard through the grapevine that they have applied enormous pressure on SoCal's MSM to lay off this 1.2 Billion Dollar story! Salute to the Patch for covering this story when most others chose not to! It is a 1.2 Billion Dollar Story, yet most of the MSM is remaining quiet! What we all need to do is ask the CPUC when do we get our REBATES? Call: 1-800-649-7570 Write: CPUC Consumer Affairs 505 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102 Electronic: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/CEC/e_complaint/
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Guess you did not get the Memo: CA now has a 40% ENERGY SURPLUS (more than we ever need) even without EITHER San Onofre OR El Diablo being used, with more clean and safe Solar (of all flavors) being added daily! Any restart/testing would only GIFT SCE and SDG&E $1.2 Billion Dollars!
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:29 PM
With todays technology, the Meeting was a POOR attempt to acquire public input. The NRC needs to step up and join the 21 Century, technically speaking!
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Ha Ha Ha These experts and your "Support" for them are mistaken: San Onofre now has more damaged and or plugged tubes than all the rest of the nuclear reactors in the USA! The ONLY reason that Unit 2 was less damaged than Unit 3 was that it was operating at a different temperature and pressure... That is a engineering FACT... They both need to be scrapped, and all the SCE supporters in the World cannot change the physical condition of the tubing or the reduced tolerances of the tube to tube clearances...
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:37 PM
The total tube damage at SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) to date: 1. On Unit 3 steam generators (SG): 8.5% of the tubes (1657 out of 19454 tubes on both SGs) showed wear of greater than 10% through-wall indications. 8 tubes failed in-situ pressure testing SCE completed extensive plugging and selective staking of 807 tubes and found 10,284 wear indications on 1806 tubes. 2. On Unit 2 steam generators (SG): 5.2 % of the tubes (1009 out of 19454 tubes on both SGs) showed wear greater than 10% through-wall indication. The total plugging for Unit 2 was 510 (205 tubes in 2E088 and 305 in 2E089) plus they found 4721 wear indications on 1,595 tubes. Now San Onofre has more tubes that are plugged and or damaged than ALL the rest of the entire US "Nuclear fleet" of reactors put together! That is how bad these SCE designed San Onofre's Replacement Steam Generators (RSG's) are and one of the main reasons they should never be allowed to restart them for any reason! Once started (at any power setting), they are a nuclear accident waiting to happen!
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:42 PM
To PubliusSJC How do you feel about paying 1.2 Billion to SCE and getting ZIP in return? Where would you and your family relocate to if San Onofre became a Fukushima? Your asking for money is just silly since SanO is TAKING MONEY FROM RATEPAYERS just like you and not giving you anything in return... CA has 40% reserve power without either San Onofre or El Diablo, so guess what, Solar (of all flavors) will actually lower our bills (if the CPUC stops giving SCE record profits year after year)...
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Right On, and for the $1.2 Billion owed to ratepayers they could do an even better deal AND reduce the payback period at the same time... But hey the SCE shareholders would cry FOUL, since they could not continue to rip off rate payers like they have been doing for many, many years!
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Mike Word has it that MHI built the RSG's to SCE's EXACT specifications and that it is SCE design team that "dropped the ball"... Just wait until all the facts come out in court and SCE is forced to admit that they, not MHI, were at fault... MHI has too much to lose to "take a dive" for SCE on this issue! SCE and or public documents will show that their designers bragged about "pulling one over" on the NRC by side stepping the Major Review Process by claiming they doing a like-for-like replacement when in fact that was never the case! Google this: Challenges and Rewards of Innovative Design of Replacement Steam Generators Boguslaw J. Olech (Southern California Edison Co.), Tomoyuki Inoue (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.)
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Great comment! For real time Rad info check out the iRad which connects to you phone and also uploads the data to the web to show the area's readings: http://creativeelectron.com/store + Check out the mapping on this excellent site: http://decommission.sanonofre.com/p/real-time-radiation-monitoring.html
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I think that the huge amount of radionuclides from Fukushima are ALSO having a major impact on the Weather we are now having… anytime you put charged particles into the upper atmosphere, it is bound to have some unusual effects on our Weather! I think of it as Radioactive Cloud Seeding (RCS) by Japan and it is having a global impact on all of US! + Food Contamination in CA? http://www.enviroreporter.com/2012/08/no-place-to-… It contains large listing of radionuclides now being found in the USA and elsewhere… Yet our EPA is saying nothing!
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Two new words to help describe modern Nuclear Politics: Nuclear Fix* * http://is.gd/DzSrY1 The nuclear industries (aka nuclear fascists) policy of donating massive amounts of money to insure that all levels of Government support Nuclear Energy to protect their market share despite it’s enormous environmental RISK of yet another Fukushima, instead of supporting less expensive, NON RISKY Eco Friendly Solar energy. + Nuclear Conflict of Interest* * http://is.gd/WiYZpz A Nuclear Conflict of Interest happens when elected Leaders give their support to the Nuclear Industry because they have received some form of Nuclear Payback without disclosing it to the public.
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Another thing left out of the discussion is the ability of the damaged Unit #2 to survive a large earthquake since it is already heavily damaged! With more tubes plugged and damaged that at all the rest of the nuclear steam generators in the USA put together that fact alone should be enough to prevent the NRC from allowing any restart/testing! We are lucky that the new Chairwomen of the NRC is a highly respected Geologist because the NRC needs to start giving much more importance to potential Earthquakes than they have in the past, illustrated by the fact that US reactors are not built to anywhere near the degree of Earth Movement standards as the one in Japan and we all know how Fukushima faired when struck by a BIG Earth Quake... BTW Many in Japan and elsewhere believe that the Quake not the Tsunami was the true cause of the Fukushima triple meltdown; which if true would be yet another reason to NEVER allow SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) to ever be restarted! http://wp.me/pDwKM-2Cx
CaptD October 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Just wait until SCE makes public all its technical documents having to do with their designs and their specific restart investigations of their poorly designed replacement steam generators to the NRC, then Management heads will start to roll at SCE, and I'm not talking "regular" Union Workers...
CaptD October 12, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Anybody hear anything about Nuclear Energy mentioned in the VP debates?
CaptD October 13, 2012 at 03:52 PM
SCE's root cause analyst is flawed, and that info will come back to bite them in their pocketbook when the CPUC meets very soon and begins an investigation into the 1.2 Billion dollar debacle! For SoCal ratepayers Xmas will come early in the form of big Energy rebates from SCE and SDG&E, since they have been taking millions from US and not providing any Energy for it...
CaptD October 14, 2012 at 11:42 PM
The DAB Safety Team's Update: 10-14-12, SCE’s Replacement Steam Generator $680 Million Debacle http://decommission.sanonofre.com/
Suzanne Robinson October 23, 2012 at 03:43 PM
$680 MILLION DOLLARS... Who's $680 MILLION DOLLARS...??? Yours and Mine? Or will they just PRINT more to cover it? THINK ABOUT IT.... THAT is ALOT of Money! Do YOU want to sign up to pay for it? And sign up your KIDS and GRANDKIDS? Do YOU want to restart SONGS to that level of COMMITTMENT??? Suzanne Robinson

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