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As the decommissioning process continues at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a scenario similar to the one that led to the power plant’s demise is unfolding about halfway between Orlando and Miami.

In 2007, Florida Power & Light installed two new steam generators at its St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant at a cost of $140 million (a fraction of the nearly $700 million spent at San Onofre). The new generators were supposed to remain in service until the reactor's scheduled retirement in 2043.

When the plant shut down in 2009 for maintenance and refueling, however, 2000 of the 18,000 metal tubes that compose the generators showed damage at over 5800 locations. Because each tube is 70 feet long, they may have abnormal wear or damage observed at more than one location.

The damage observed was at the time the worst on record for the nuclear industry — until a tube burst at San Onofre's Unit 3 generator, releasing a small amount of radiation into the atmosphere. Inspectors there found 10,284 damaged tubing sections along 1806 total damaged tubes. San Onofre's Unit 2 generator, which was shut down for maintenance at the time, was also inspected and found to be heavily damaged.

Florida Power & Light took a different approach than San Onofre operator Southern California Edison — they put the reactors back online and turned up the juice, generating even more power than before. In 2011, the Florida plant again shut down for maintenance and inspection; the damage was 46 percent more severe, with nearly 3000 tubes showing damage at over 8600 locations.

Officials at Florida Power & Light argue that their design should not be compared to San Onofre (St. Lucie's generators were supplied by the French firm AREVA; San Onofre's by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries), though that's exactly what Edison did during their ultimately unsuccessful attempt to gain permission to resume operations in San Diego. St. Lucie was identified as "the next closest plant with a high number of wear indications," according to a Tampa Bay Times report.

Power generation at St. Lucie has been bumped by another 12 percent since generators there were last inspected in November 2012. The next shutdown and inspection is scheduled for next month, when experts fear they could find even further deterioration in the steam generators that are hoped to last for another three decades.

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Comments

CaptD Feb. 25, 2014 @ 12:25 p.m.

By knowing the history of nuclear energy in the USA, whose subsidizes have been enormous over the years and that does not even mention the Price Anderson Act which limits any huge penalties that might have to be paid by either the individual Utility/operator at fault or even the entire Industry that pays into the 12 Billion dollar fund if something BAD happens like a trillion dollar Fukushima.

Face it, the US Gov't. has been supporting the nuclear industry for many decades because it tends to provide a "PR balance" to our nuclear weapon R&D which is of course still ongoing.

To date, the USA has just been plain lucky that nothing BAD has happened here because if Fukushima has taught us anything, it is that Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7 and yet the NRC and especially the nuclear industry are still living in Nuclear Denial* about it ever happening in the USA. Experts point out the once in 10,000 probability, yet not one but 3 reactors melted down right after 3/11/11.

The USA cannot afford to take any chances with nuclear reactors that are being run by Utilities whose first priority is to generate profits for their shareholders, despite giving US all lip service that safety is their first concern. San Onofre NPP is a perfect example of how a Big Utility can game the Reg.'s to suit themselves causing a Nuclear Near Miss (NNM) in the process, which has resulted in the early decommission of Units 2 & 3 which will cost either the ratepayers and/or the shareholder of SCE and SDG&E (The two largest owners) many billions of dollars.

The illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!

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CaptD Feb. 25, 2014 @ 12:34 p.m.

Does anyone know if ST. LUCIE uses HIGH BURN-UP FUEL?

This caused major issues at San Onofre because it caused additional stress on the steam generator tubes and their supports, think wear and tear as everything vibrates against each other and their supports...

More on this important issue here: http://sanonofresafety.org/nuclear-waste/

Utilities love high burn-up fuel because they make more money generating energy and all the repairs are paid by their ratepayers who don't realize that they are being suckered by their own Utilities! San Onofre could have N☢T done the Replacement Steam Generator project and it would have still been in service if SCE had not gotten greedy and wanted to make money on both the expensive replacement project and the additional energy they wanted to produce when they got their power "uprating" from the NRC.

This is just another example of how the ratepayers are being suckered by their Utilities, while their Regulators like the CPUC turn allow the Utilities to get away with "highway robbery".

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CaptD Feb. 25, 2014 @ 12:40 p.m.

TAKE ACTION NOW! The 5 CA Public Utilities Commissioners may vote on the first San Onofre Outage Decision on February 27th. To counter the intense lobbying by SCE and SDG&E to reduce even a nominal inital refund proposed for ratepayers, as well as to blunt the criticism of SCE's unsound decision-making in responding to this outage -- we MUST mobilize public opinion to defend ratepayer interests. Last December, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) formally found Southern California Edison (SCE) in violation of NRC regulations in replacing the steam generators at San Onofre, because “design control measures were not established to provide for verifying and checking the adequacy of certain designs.”1 This official action by the NRC validates and reinforces the CA PUC's proposed findings that SCE used an unsound decision-making process in 2012 to respond to the failure of the replacement steam generators.

Email the CPU Commissioners at "Public.Advisor@cpuc.ca.gov", use "I.12-10-013 Comment" in your Subject Line, and include your name and city. Please BCC: marthasullivan@mac.com

CA Public Utilities Commissioners Florio, Peevey, Peterman, Ferron, and Sandoval – Please stand up for captive RATEPAYERS not monopoly utility corporations: NO BAILOUT FOR SAN ONOFRE!>>More message if you are interested >>> I support the Coalition to Decommission San Onofre's (CDSO) Comments on the Proposed Decision to:

  1. Disallow 80% of SCE's Base-Routine O&M for the whole of June-December 2012, or $93.5 million, with $23.4 million allowed.

  2. Find that it was NOT reasonable for SCE to move nuclear fuel back into the U2 core in late February of 2012, authorize 80% of the U2 Refueling Outage costs ($36.1 million), and disallow 20% ($9.2 million).

  3. Disallow 56% of SCE's Capital Expenditures for 2012, or $93.9 million, with $73.7 million allowed.

  4. Find and Conclude that Emergency Planning zones were established in California based upon site-specific studies conducted by the Office of Emergency Services (now Cal-EMA) and the Department of Health Services, as mandated by the Legislature in 1979. This is codified in Government Code Section 8610.3.

  5. Find and Conclude that there is abundant legislative mandate for the Commission, as the State regulator of SCE and SDG&E, to ensure that they are effectively coordinating with state and local governments in maintaining nuclear powerplant public education information.

  6. Direct the Energy Division Director to solicit the input for an effective public information and education program from the California Emergency Management Agency, the California Department of Public Health, and county/city/school districts, community-based organizations and the public within 50 miles of San Onofre via public meetings.

  7. Order the establishment and funding of the San Onofre Decommissioning Citizens Oversight Panel proposed by CDSO in its testimony in A.12-12-012/013, Exhibit CDSO-20

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CaptD Feb. 25, 2014 @ 12:42 p.m.

THANK YOU! Martha Sullivan, Organizer Coalition to Decommission San Onofre To support our Coalition to Decommission San Onofre grassroots Intervenor Team’s dynamic work at the CPUC, CEC and NRC, please go to our Donation Page on the Citizens Oversight website: www.copswiki.org/Common/DonateToCitiz...

OR Send your tax-deductible contribution payable to “Citizens Oversight” with "Memo," "CPUC" at:

Citizens Oversight 771 Jamacha Rd, Suite 148 El Cajon, CA 92019

Whatever you can contribute financially enables our grassroots campaigners to continue our very effective advocacy and watch-dogging!

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sullivanms Feb. 25, 2014 @ 1:07 p.m.

Thank you for sharing this here. Please replace the name Ferron above with Picker, to reflect the recent resignation of the former and appointment of the latter.

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CaptD Feb. 25, 2014 @ 12:56 p.m.

New UC Berkeley Test Reveals Fantastically High Cesium Levels on California Roadside

By Christina Sarich

snip: For all the naysayers who said that Fukushima radiation wasn’t hitting the West Coast, here’s a new one for you. UC Berkeley lab tests are now showing high levels of cesium in cattle feed from a California dairy farm that was sent to a lab nine months prior to the test results being received - a long delay that suggests levels are much higher now. Then, the one-two-punch – asphalt along a roadside in the sunny city which catches plenty of rainfall was then measured, much more recently, and a disturbing 3579 pci/kg were found. By anyone’s standards, that cannot just be chalked up as background radiation. Fukushima fallout isn't just coming via ocean currents. It is in our rain, air and soil now.

After more than three years of government cover ups – from Japan, and within our own US agencies, the evidence is coming out from citizens, Universities, once-silenced scientists, and other reputable agencies making it almost impossible to keep the true damage of the Fukushima fallout quiet.

This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/new-uc-berkeley-test-reveals-fantastically-high-cesium-levels-california-roadside-1392911534. All rights are reserved.

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