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NRC to Brief Public on Burst San Onofre Tubes

Preliminary findings will be presented at a June 18 meeting in San Juan Capistrano.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will brief the public on what caused a , leading technicians to discover that

The meeting will be held June 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center, 25925 Camino Del Avion, in San Juan Capistrano.

“We know there is a great deal of interest in how the NRC is ensuring safety at San Onofre,” NRC Region IV Administrator Elmo E. Collins said in a press release. “We want to provide the public with the status of our inspection of the plant’s steam generators and talk about the process the NRC will use to ensure that all of our rigorous requirements for operating the facility are met.”

Shut Down for the Summer

The NRC The agency sifted through shipping records, NRC filings and inspected components. A full report on the tube ruptures and unusual wear will be issued within 30 days, according to NRC spokesman Victor Dricks.

Thousands of tubes in the steam generators act as heat exchangers; they contain superheated, highly pressurized radioactive water that flows around the nuclear reactor. The tubes work like a radiator, boiling pure water to make steam, which turns the turbines to make electricity.

Southern California Edison, regulators and various groups calling for the shutdown of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station have been shooting press releases across the wires since .

Edison officials and , south Orange County and north San Diego County could experience rolling blackouts.

The ISO and Edison are working to fire up a shuttered natural gas plant in Huntington Beach and fast-tracking extra transmission projects to prevent Southern California's air conditioners from sucking so much voltage out of the grid that the lights go dark, according to statements from plant officials.

Reaction from the Anti-Nuclear Crowd

"The recent announcement by Ted Craver, CEO of Edison, that they will keep the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station shut down for the summer without any expectations for blackouts should give the public some sense of relief, at least for now," said a statement from the group.

sent out a press release calling for transparency and hoping the current shutdown would be the first step in decommissioning the plant.

Stone speculated that Edison might artificially cause blackouts to bolster its claim that San Onofre is necessary to support the grid.

"ROSE strongly believes the ISO reports that indicate California has enough power for the summer without San Onofre," Stone said. "But we will need to watch closely to see if there is any artificial manipulation of California’s electric grid."

Friends of the Earth also issued a statement:

Friends of the Earth has issued three technical reports that have warned that the severe damage has been caused by design changes that were not properly reviewed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

This is welcome news for the people of Southern California, who have lived for five months with the threat of severely damaged nuclear reactors being restarted this summer. Edison must now make a complete public disclosure of the full magnitude of the serious technical problems they have created.

Both Edison officials and Dricks of the NRC have disputed statements made by Friends of the Earth.

"SCE followed the NRC’s detailed guidance in procuring its replacement steam generators, meeting the NRC’s technical specifications outlined in Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 50.59," according to release from Southern California Edison.

jennymofo June 09, 2012 at 02:08 PM
The fact is that California has plenty of excess power capacity, perhaps not supplied by SCE, but there are other companies that can make up the difference. I think it is SCE's profit motives that are driving the message that SONGS is essential. The reality is that it is time for them to decommission and that California doesn't need the 2200 Megawatts SONGS produces, particularly at the risk of destroying Southern California. Decommission SONGS!
Patricia Gatacre August 01, 2012 at 07:14 PM
When my grandparents bought their retirement home in San Clemente I had deep concerns about Unit 1 of the Nuclear Generating Station (at that time there was ONLY Unit 1...units 2 and 3 came later). No one at the time seemed worried about background radiation, much less a steam tube leak! During the years that my husband and I have lived here we've had a series of pets (dogs and cats) and I noticed that there appeared to be an abnormally high incidence among them of cancer -- predominantly of the lower jaw. Could background radiation have caused or contributed to these conditions that radically shortened the lives of our pets? Have we had radioactive leaks in the past which went unreported to the public? Many questions to ask; many answers to be evaluated. CLOSE DOWN THE PLANT....and deep-six the spent rods held in storage on the plant site.

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