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Opponents of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County are making noise on multiple fronts.

Yesterday, the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility filed comments with the California Public Utilities Commission concerning a proposed ruling by Administrative Law Judge Robert Barnett that concludes that seismic studies proposed by plant operator Southern California Edison “fulfill state regulatory objectives.”

The Alliance argues that the proposed ruling makes incorrect assumptions about the adequacy of the studies suggested by SoCal Edison, particularly in light of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s enhanced seismic standards in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

“The 2011 experience in Japan clarifies that decisions based on this work might one day prove the most consequential ever made by California state government,” the Alliance states in arguing for the Public Utilities Commission to “demand the highest standards of intellectual rigor, vigorous peer review, and public transparency.”

Translation: another look needs to be taken at SoCal Edison’s proposed studies, the scope of which may need to be significantly expanded, at a considerably higher cost than what the utility is suggesting is necessary at this point.

While the Alliance continues in its role as a watchdog of regulatory proceedings, other environmental groups with a more direct message: keep the temporarily suspended reactors at San Onofre out of commission – permanently.

Ray Lutz, who as a member of Citizens Oversight Projects has been involved with numerous progressive movements of late (including hosting a March 11 event commemorating the anniversary of Fukushima), spoke on the numerous safety concerns being voiced about the plant.

“The inside [of the plant] was completely redesigned . . . the engineers themselves wrote about how proud they were that they worked around public scrutiny, and were able to avoid review by the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission],” Lutz said, speaking on the new steam generators whose tubing has been failing and showing excess wear at an alarming rate, prompting the emergency shutdown.

“The problem here is that our elected officials have all taken money from Southern California Edison and SDG&E and Sempra Energy – massive amounts of money. The media takes money from these organizations as well, they advertise on all of your stations,” Lutz told the crowd of news cameras gathered on the coast near the power plant. “So it’s hard to get the message out there sometimes, about what’s going on . . . it isn’t a pretty picture here, folks.”

He went on to criticize the plant’s 14 foot seawall, stating that the maximum wave swell generated during Japan’s earthquake reached 133 feet in height. Lutz further said that battery-powered pumps intended to relocate water in the event of a seawall breach had once gone disconnected for a period of four full years.

Donna Gilmore, founder of the sanonofresafety.org website, also spoke, saying she became involved in the anti-nuclear movement after reading a news article a few years ago saying plant employees were being punished for reporting safety problems.

“I thought that had to be a crock. Nobody in their right mind would run a nuclear plant and punish employees for safety concerns. Guess what? I was wrong. San Onofre has the worst safety record of all nuclear plants in the entire country,” said Gilmore, who also provided a chart to demonstrate the level of safety concerns reported at San Onofre as compared to other facilities.

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Between January 2007 and August 2011, San Onofre logged 133 safety problems as reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by employees and contractors at the site. Diablo Canyon, California’s other nuclear plant, had 49 reports, still well above the median of 20 problems per site reported during the sample period.

A closed-door meeting was scheduled this afternoon between activists and representatives of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose chairman, Gregory Jaczko, is visiting the plant in light of the recent events. Groups planned to demand a thorough investigation into the cause of the premature failure of the new generators, which cost ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars to install.

After touring the plant’s reactors, Jaczko promised to conduct a “tough review” of the facility before allowing either unit to go back online, but indicated that the Unit 2 reactor, which had been shuttered for routine maintenance, might be allowed to restart sooner than Unit 3, where radioactive leaks were found.

“We have to have assurance of safety before we will allow the plant to restart,” said Jaczko.

Pictured speaking: Ray Lutz, Citizens Oversight

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Comments

Visduh April 6, 2012 @ 9:02 p.m.

While we all may not buy into all of these allegations, the fact that this "minor mishap" at the plant has grown into something that is unprecedented makes me think that those units may never operate again. And that's after they just spent $ millions on a new boiler/steam turbine for one of them and are on track to do the same for the other. Are we to come down to a choice of dangerously flawed nuke plants vs. coal fired generation? A real Hobbes choice, and one that seems unnecessary. Then there is the matter of all the other nuke plants around the nation. Are many/most of them in similar danger? And how about the rest of the world? This could snowball.

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NewsToMe April 7, 2012 @ 8:59 a.m.

There are many of us downwind of California who are very concerned about the problems at San Onfore's nuclear power plant.

We're following the news carefully and don't feel assured from what we're learning.

The idea of re-starting Unit 2 when Unit 3 still has problems makes no sense.

Just keep them both shut down until there can be 100% assurance that there will be no future problems and radioactive releases.

Don't put profit above safety.

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Founder April 7, 2012 @ 2:31 p.m.

I read a huge number of great comments about this in the San Clemente Times article:

NRC: Power Plant Restart Hinges on Assurances of Safety

Read more: San Clemente Times - Local News, Businesses, Classifieds, events, in the San Clemente, CA area. http://sanclementetimes.com/pages/full_story/push?need_to_add=true&content_instance=18157899&id=18157899#cb_post_comment_18157899

This is a much BIGGER safety issue than we have been told by CSE or the NRC...

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Dave Stewart April 7, 2012 @ 5:23 p.m.

I just looked and it appears that all 11 comments were made today by the same person.

I wonder who

this CaptD could be

It makes me

go hmmm??

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Founder April 8, 2012 @ 7:37 a.m.

Someone who is very interested in NOT having San Onofre, become the NEXT Fukushima, for any reason like one or more of these: Big Earth Quakes Big Tsunami's Big Human screw-ups Big Metal Materials failure Big Unknown Big Anything

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Dave Stewart April 8, 2012 @ 1:15 p.m.

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Founder April 7, 2012 @ 2:36 p.m.

Here are two of my favorites from the above website:

Don't forget that initially SCE told everyone that this was no bid deal, then there was no leakage, then a insignificant amount leaked and then only a small leak and then just a tube or two then the NRC asked for more info because of PUBLIC pressure and now it comes out that it is a MAJOR Concern for all of SoCal...

If this progression sounds familiar just remember that TEPCO in Japan did the very same thing when they had their Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster in Fukushima on 3/11/11...

TEPCO and the entire Nuclear Industry is DESPERATE to avoid the concept that an BIG EQ can start a meltdown because it puts EVERY land based Reactor at RISK of creating a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster...

TEPCO "fiddled" with the 3/11/11 operators data just enough to make it appear that the Tsunami was the "cause" because most people Globally are not afraid of Tsunamis'...

Sure the data shows they were adding "makeup" water; but ask yourself why was that extra water suddenly required in such massive amounts? The answer is MASSIVE RADIOACTIVE WATER LEAKAGE caused by the QUAKE! Think of all the weakened condenser tubes, weakened wiring piping penetrations, and old seam welds at supporting reinforcements all starting to fail at the same time because of the BIG ground movements caused by the EQ and the after shocks...

We all know what happens when you shake up a soda can and then start to open it.

Fukushima was caused by the failure of the reactor to withstand the ground movements caused by the huge EQ, which by the way, was built far beyond the spec's of ANY US reactors...

What will happen when CA get the BIG One, better yet, can the USA afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster?

and

A Prediction!

I believe that the CURRENT PROBE into San Onofre will expose many more questionable tubes and also an ongoing coverup of safety related info that was concealed in order to sidestep NRC notifications. San Onofre has the worst safety record of all US reactors and it just makes sense that the Operator will be trying very hard to keep the lid on anything that draw attention to their reactor or it's operation.

The NRC gave the Nuclear Industry a "PASS" on the tube wear issue before on San Onofre and many of the other reactors around the Country http://wp.­me/p21p6a-­77L BUT NOW

They are realizing that they have a much bigger problem than they first "imagined"­; metal erosion/weakness cannot be tolerated when the radioactiv­e leakage is not only high in temperatur­e and pressure but also high in amount of radiation!

Would you use a dangerous leaking pressure pot day after day,... or would you be smart and replace it with something safer?

Fragile tubes and a BIG EARTH QUAKE could makes a large number of those tubes all Fail AT ONCE; which is what I think happened in Fukushima!

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Dave Stewart April 7, 2012 @ 9:16 p.m.

"Fukushima was caused by the failure of the reactor to withstand the ground movements caused by the huge EQ" Ya know, I'm curious about something. Everything I remember hearing and reading at the time said reactor 4 had been de-fueled and reactors 5 and 6 were in cold shutdown for planned maintenance when the earthquake struck. Also that only reactors 1, 2 and 3 experienced full meltdown and this happened because the tsunami broke the reactor connection to the power grid and also flooded the rooms containing the emergency generators. This caused the generators to cease working and the pumps that circulate coolant water in the reactor ceased to work, causing the reactors to begin to overheat, which of course led to the meltdown. If there has been new evidence found that now shows that it was actually the ground movement that caused the meltdown, I would be interested in knowing where I can find it,as I feel that would be more pertinent to San O. Best, BTS.

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Founder April 8, 2012 @ 7:58 a.m.

RE: The true "cause" of the Fukushima Disaster: RE: Initial cause: TEPCO and the entire Nuclear Industry are DESPERATE to avoid the concept that an BIG EQ can start a meltdown because it puts EVERY land based Reactor at RISK of creating a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster...

Many believe that TEPCO "fiddled" with the 3/11/11 operators data (they have done this in the past) http://wp.me/p21p6a-Ws and http://enenews.com/?p=15466

just enough to make it appear that the Tsunami was the "cause" because most people Globally are not afraid of Tsunamis'... http://www.counterpunch.org/?p=32982

I think the Big Quake shock the reactor complex so hard that many critical piping connections failed and that the leakages of highly radioactive water actually started the meltdown process, which was completed when the power was lost to the cooling pumps, remember they ran out of cooling water and were in no position to pump sea water into the reactors...

RE: Fuel Rod Storage Pools at Fukushima: From Mitsuhei Murata's letter to the UN link: http://enenews.com/?p=30009 snip

I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude for your considerate letter dated 2 March, 2012. Your moral support for a United Nations Ethics Summit will remain a constant source of encouragement for my activities.

Please allow me to pay a tribute to your great contribution to strengthen nuclear safety and security. The current Nuclear Summit in Seoul is no doubt greatly benefiting from the high-level meeting you convened last September.

I was asked to make a statement at the public hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 23. I raised the crucial problem. of N0.4 reactor of Fukushima containing1535 fuel rods. It could be fatally damaged by continuing aftershocks. Moreover, 50 meters away from it exists a common cooling pool for 6 reactors containing 6375 fuel rods!

It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on NO.4 reactor. This is confirmed by most reliable experts like Dr. Arnie Gundersen or Dr. Fumiaki Koide.

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Dave Stewart April 8, 2012 @ 1:42 p.m.

I don't necessarily agree that that the nuclear industry is trying make everyone think that an earthquake can't cause enough damage to a nuclear facility to produce an incident at either San O or Diablo. I think everyone is cognizant that an slip strike quake such as the Loma Prieta quake can produce enough ground movement with enough ground acceleration to do that very thing, should one occur in the wrong place. We were actually in Santa Cruz when the Loma Prieta quake hit. We were just down the block, about to cross the street to go int a pub and watch the game when it happened. Like I said, i don;t think there are many people around, in Ca. at least, who harbor any such notion that a strong enough quake can't damage a nuclear facility.I think that horse got out of the barn a long time ago. So you say you "think" that's what happened, that TEPCO "fiddled" with data to make it appear that the Tsunami was the cause, but you actually don't have any proof. It's just your feeling that's what happened. I find that disappointing. Personally, I am more concerned about damage at San O due to a quake than from a 100' plus tsunami; the geography and geology make that an extremely small possibility. I guess I was just under the impression that some actual new evidence had been discovered.

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Founder April 9, 2012 @ 9:02 a.m.

I suggest that you learn much more about how TEPCO and the other Japanese Utilities have been caught "massaging their data" then perhaps you too will have reservations about believing their story about the cause of their triple meltdowns...

Also, do you agree that SoCal can do without SORE's energy or do you dispute that also and if you do not, then why allow SORE to put SoCal at RISK for any reason?

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DonnaGilmore April 8, 2012 @ 3:53 p.m.

Sign the California Nuclear Initiative petition today. If we get this on the ballot for November, the decision to effectively keep the plant shut down will be up to the people. Sign and mail petitions by Monday 4/9/2012. Download petitions at http://sanonofresafety.org/

Thanks Dave Rice for posting the Safety Allegations Chart! The public needs to know this plant has the worst safety record of all US plants. And that record continues today. Edison says they are improving, but employees tell us they are scared to death to report safety problems for fear of losing their jobs, so now less safety problems are being reported! San Onofre has the highest rate of retaliation against employees, too! The NRC says there is nothing they can do about it because there is no regulation that covers this -- they can't even issue a violation notice for this. But there is something we can do -- download and sign the petition by Monday April 9th.

Donna Gilmore

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calsurf April 9, 2012 @ 6:49 a.m.

It's kinda of funny how there are so many speculations when most of you do not even understand how a reactor works. Both units at San O have replaced their generators. The lifespan of a generator is usually around 20 years. Most all plants in the US have replaced their generators with the exception of a few. There are 9000 tubes in a generator and at SONGS they are experiencing problems with wear from friction on a small number of the tubes. They can plug these tubes and still run safely. They are taking every precaution and are inspecting every single tube for wear. Everything is monitored in a nuclear reactor and regulated by the government. This is how they were able to see the leak immediately and take precautions to shut the reactor down in a controlled manner. The leak was within the reactor system and in no way a danger to the plant or the environment around the plant. A 1,000 MW coal-burning power plant could have an uncontrolled release of as much as 5.2 metric tons per year of uranium and 12.8 metric tons per year of thorium. In comparison, a 1,000 MW nuclear plant will generate about 30 short tons of high-level radioactive solid packed waste per year. It is estimated that during 1982, US coal burning released 155 times as much uncontrolled radioactivity into the atmosphere as the Three Mile Island incident. Coal burning plants are not regulated by the government. So should we build more coal plants and shut down all the nuclear plants???

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Founder April 9, 2012 @ 8:54 a.m.

What Nuclear Baloney... The Japanese thought their nuclear reactors were A-OK before 3/11/11 now they have a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster to pay for...

You claims about coal are for OLD plants and you can be sure that the new coal plants that Germany (who is leaving Nuclear behind) will be orders of magnitude cleaner! BTW: If Germany can phase out nuclear ASAP so can the USA... as an example they are now installing a wind turbine "farm in an area larger than Texas! + Speaking about TEXAS: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-04/pickens-reviving-plans-for-texas-wind-projects-at-smaller-scale

You better think about getting retrained...

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Founder April 10, 2012 @ 11:17 a.m.

This message is from the Peace Resource Center of San Diego www.prcsd.org

URGENT! Two City Council Meetings this week in North County re: San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

Sorry for short notice, but things are happening fast on the San Onofre issue!

Two Important actions about the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant will take place this week! We need people who live in Carlsbad and Solana Beach and surrounding areas to attend these two local city council meetings!

The City of Irvine has voted to take a position opposing the continued operation of San Onofre. Activists are working to keep San Onofre closed have been attending City Council meetings in Carlsbad and Solana Beach urging their cities to also take a position. They need our support!

  1. Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Attend the City of Carlsbad City Council meeting, 6 p.m. City of Carlsbad 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive Carlsbad, CA 92008

Activists/experts will speak during the Public Comment section asking for the city to put the item on their agenda and take a position.

  1. Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Attend the City of Solana Beach City Council Meeting, 6 p.m. 635 S. HWY 101 Solana Beach, CA 92075

The City Council will discuss taking a position on San Onofre

Item C1 on the Agenda; see Staff report and recommendation here: http://solanabeach.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?meta_id=118171&view=&showpdf=1

We want to extend this effort to other cities in San Diego County. If you are interested in working on this in your city, please contact Carol Jahnkow, caroljahnkow@gmail.com; 760-390-0775

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Founder April 10, 2012 @ 1:50 p.m.

Here are some talking points...

 Keep SORE shut down until after the Health study is completed.  Reduce RISK of a double meltdown in SoCal.  Increase property Values.  De-Commissioning SORE will jump start the SoCal economic recovery, by providing good paying jobs for many years!  The USA cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster.  Nobody can afford to lose their property to radiation

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calsurf April 10, 2012 @ 6:50 p.m.

Founder you need to educate yourself and stop trying to get eveyone into a panic. The reactors in Japan are boilers. It is an old and completely outdated plant. They do not have a large dome containment like the pressurized reactors at San Onofre. So even if there was a " melt down" it wouldn't be the same as took place in Japan. Those domes were made for a catostrophic event...to contain it, hence the word "containment". And it's SONGS not SORE...San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

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Founder April 11, 2012 @ 12:08 p.m.

Ha Ha Ha Like SORE is built to withstand NATURE!

US reactors are not even designed to withstand the same amount of Earth Movement as the Japanese Reactors and we know what happened in Fukushima!

On any day, SORE could suffer a similar fate because Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!

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Founder April 11, 2012 @ 12:05 p.m.

Solana Beach City Council on San Onofre - 6:00pm tonight!

Sorry for the late notice. This meeting in Solana Beach tonight was going to be just another city council meeting regarding our safety concerns at San Onofre, but we just confirmed that for the first time, Edison will be there in person to make a presentation also. We have never had a public discussion with them participating. They usually just attend and say nothing in their defense, even when asked to do so. This represents a major shift in their approach and we think it will be a dramatic difference. I hope you can be there to show your support. The media will be there, and it would definitely help to have you there with us. We also will be making public the latest findings on the steam generator issue from Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds who has been hired as an independent consultant for Friends of the Earth.

If you need a ride tonight we’ll try to make that happen for you. If you are going and want to give someone a ride or if you are looking for a ride, please meet up at Carrow’s parking lot on Pico at 5:00. I guess the drivers better stand alongside your cars so people can identify you. We must leave no later than 5:15 to be on time!

FYI – You can find a recap of our historic private meeting we had last Friday with NRC Chairman Jaczko here. The media results from that event topped 90 news bureaus covering that story around the globe.

The steam generator issue is especially significant because we had a much closer call than the public was aware of when they failed. They have been shutdown since January 31 and we have done fine without nuclear power ever since. The notion that we may have blackouts this summer have been contrived by the industry. We have excess power even without them, yet they will do anything to get at least one of the reactors up and running again this summer, regardless of the potential for a far worse catastrophe.

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Founder April 12, 2012 @ 8:06 a.m.

San Onofre Reactor Emergency = SORE

The nuclear Industry always tries to pick a "FLUFFY" non-threating name...

I wonder why?

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Founder April 14, 2012 @ 7:32 a.m.

"Shut Down San Onofre Rally" - April 29, 2012 http://is.gd/45VTnP

I hope you can make it to one of our upcoming events. You can ride the No Nukes Express from Balboa Park! No driving required!

http://residentsorganizedforasafeenvironment.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/2nd-peaceful-protest-at-san-onofre-sunday-april-29-2012/

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