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Nuclear Plant Still a Long Way from Restart

The troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station continues to be an object of intense scrutiny.

From City News Service --

The operator of the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is expected to submit a restart plan for one of the two shuttered reactors about three weeks from today, but federal regulators say it may take them months to vet it.

At a recent U.S. Senate committee hearing on nuclear safety, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane said San Onofre operator Southern California Edison informed the NRC that a restart plan would be submitted by the end of the first week of October.

Once that happens, she said, NRC staff will review the plan in a process that "will be longer than days and weeks ... it will be on the order months,'' the Los Angeles Times reported.

As for the second shuttered reactor, Edison has no immediate plans to submit a restart plan for it, according to the newspaper.

San Onofre's two active reactors were both shut down in January.

One was shut down for planned repairs while the other was shut down abruptly when on Jan. 31, a faulty piece of equipment leaked a small amount of radioactive steam into the environment.

The incident led to the discovery that many more steam generator tubes were wearing out more quickly than expected.

In November, when the plant will have been out of service for nine months, state law will trigger an investigation in which the commission must consider lowering rates.

The investigation could eventually result in refunding money to customers so they would not pay the costs of a plant that is producing no power. Anti-nuclear advocates urge authorities to keep the plant shut.

Hundreds of stories, photos and videos in chronological order detailing the history of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station over the last two years are available here at our Patch topic page.

MisturChips September 13, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I thought there were double heat exchangers on these reactors, and radioactive steam would be contained within the structure designed to do so, not "into the environment"... California is in desparate need of more local generation in areas near where the loads are: San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco. Surely, inland generation would be great, too, but you can't deny nuclear power is indeed one of the most reliable, clean, quiet forms of generation. There are many more modern reactors that are even safer than Dolly 1 and Dolly 2. The original reactor was almost completely upgraded to the NRC safety specs when it was 'decided' not to finish the last couple upgrades and shut it down. What a bummer.
PhilM September 14, 2012 at 04:47 PM
"into the environment" is Luddite propaganda to enhance the public's fear of the plants. Patch noted back in Jan 31 in http://sanclemente.patch.com/articles/operators-shut-down-san-onofre-one-reactor-unit-as-a-precaution that the leak occurred between the primary and secondary cooling loops, and was retained within the dome's contained area. I suspect that had we regulated the auto industry in the same fashion, I doubt we'd be out of the 1940's designs!
george gregory September 15, 2012 at 01:43 AM
WITH OUR COUNTRY AWASH IN NATURAL GAS THERE IS NO NEED FOR NUKE POWER OR THE POTENTIAL POISON IT MAY RELEASE . DECOMMISSION THIS HAZARD NOW BEFORE ITS TO LATE THE CLEAN UP, STORAGE AND DECOMMISSION JOBS , for songs , WILL SUPPLY EMPLOYMENT TO THE SONGS EMPLOYEES AND MORE FOR YEARS TO COME AND WILL BOLSTER OUR LOCAL ECONOMY IN SAN CLEMENT FOR the YEARS TO COME. PLUS THE BUILDING OF A NEW NATURAL GAS POWER PLANT , IS A TRUE jobs ECONOMIC PLAN , NEED and replacement WE CAN ALWAYS GO BACK TO NUKE POWER SOMEDAY WHEN WE DISCOVER HOW TO RENDER IT instantly INERT AND FULLY CLEAN IT UP GEORGE GREGORY
MisturChips September 16, 2012 at 03:49 AM
no need to yell. Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel for small to intermediate internal combustion, and would better serve us fueling cars. There are processes in place to re-refine nuclear fuel; but it's pricey. Store it for now - we can always come back to re-process it when it becomes less expensive. Besides hydroelectric power, nuclear is the only option for SoCal. It's only moderately more difficult to get permits for that than a regular gas / coal fired plant, as CA makes it near impossible to jump through all the hoops necessary, yet they keep allowing building permits for new homes, businesses, and shopping centers - where will the power come from? Nuclear (or Nucular, for some).

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