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NRC Blames Design Flaw for San Onofre Nuclear Leak

Meanwhile, several anti-nuke groups plan a protest and press conference before Monday's Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting in San Juan Capistrano.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the NRC meeting was Tuesday evening. It was held Monday.

It's official: Design flaws in San Onofre's "heavily modified" new steam generators caused excessive tube wear and a radioactive steam leak in January, NRC Regional Administrator Elmo Collins said Sunday in an interview with the Associated Press.

That conclusion dovetails with the analysis of a consultant hired by environmental group Friends of the Earth, which issued a report earlier this year blaming the problems on Southern California Edison's design changes.

The new design caused thousands of highly pressurized steam tubes inside the generator to vibrate against each other and against support structures, leading to abnormally

In related news, environmental groups plan to hold a press conference and protest before Monday's 6 p.m. on the issue in the San Juan Capistrano Community Center.

At 5 p.m., representatives will appear with from Fairewinds Associates, which was hired by Friends to analyze recent problems at the plant.

Also protesting will be members of and , which have spearheaded local efforts to shut down the plant.

At the meeting itself, NRC staffers will release preliminary findings about the cause of the January leak, and plant officials will offer a response.

A public comment and questioning period will follow.

The plant has been closed since January and will remain shut down at least through the summer.

Watch Patch.com late Tuesday night for photos, video and an incisive story from the meeting. Also look for Twitter updates from the meeting by following @ClementePatch; we'll use the hashtag #NRC to catalog the tweets.

Matt June 19, 2012 at 11:34 PM
The United States has 3900% more sun than Germany, however Germany has 6000% more solar energy than the United States and plans to close down it's entire nuclear energy producing plants by 2022. They are even exporting some of their excess solar energy to France. If Germany can do this, why can't we?
Yeparoo June 20, 2012 at 12:52 AM
@Matt - If SONGS is unsafe, it should be shut down until safe and not until then. Or shut it down forever if they can't make it safe. German Solar is basically Solyndra on a very large scale. Germany has pulled away the subsidy monopoly money and their solar industry is collapsing. Nice comment toward the end in the DER SPIEGEL article: Solar Fairy Tale Beutel came to Solar Valley to save a subsidiary of Q-Cells. He had been hired by an investor. He shrugs his shoulders when asked about the time before the crisis, about the early years in Solar Valley. IT WASN'T A REAL ECONOMY, he says. The truth - "Instead, there's a market that politicians created in 2000 with the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which promised tens of thousands of green jobs and now steers half of its €14 billion ($17.6 billion) in annual funding toward the solar industry." "People in Germany aren't buying all these solar modules because the sun shines particularly often in their country. They're buying them because they will receive subsidies known as feed-in tariffs for the electricity for 20 years. The state has guaranteed every producer of solar power a price that was initially 50 euro cents per kilowatt hour higher than the market price." http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/german-and-chinese-solar-firms-fight-for-survival-a-835367.html
AnneS July 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM
The failure of Solyndra does NOT mean the failure of solar, as much as the "drill baby drill" crowd would love to spin it that way. Think about it - the US spent $409 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2010, and even more in 2011 and 2012. Imagine what we could have if we invested that in sustainable energy instead. We can choose what kind of future we want for our children. Where there's a will there's a way. "What if Solar Power had Fossil Fuel-like subsidies? The answer would involve a ratio of 72 to 1, which is how fossil fuel subsidies compare with solar today. From an average taxpayer perspective, that means that over the past five years, you would have contributed $521.73 towards fossil fuels subsidies, but only $7.23 towards solar. If the tables were turned, 100% of Americans could soon be receiving their power from solar sources." More: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/10/solar-climate-bill/ MIT opens new 'window' on solar energy http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/solarcells-0710.html

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