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It’s official: both of the troubled nuclear generators at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will remain offline throughout the summer, according to plant operator Southern California Edison.

Edison expects to present a safety plan to restart the plant’s Unit 2 reactor, which was originally taken offline for routine maintenance, by the beginning of July, though gaining approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to resume operations will take at least another month. Plans for Unit 3, in a state of emergency shutdown after tubes in the plant’s steam generating unit burst, leaking radiation into the atmosphere, will take longer to develop.

On another front, the website Politico earlier this week publicized a list of allegations brought forward by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) charging personnel intimidation and retaliation against whistle-blowers at Commission regional offices.

The accusations that safety concerns within the government monitoring agency are being suppressed mirror those already voiced by San Onofre workers. Despite reported fear of employer retaliation, the plant for at least the past two years has led the nation in substantiated safety claims.

Piling on, Judge Richard Posner in Chicago recently issued a statement critical of a “strange and dangerous” lack of oversight concerning security clearances at nuclear power facilities throughout the country.

“The safety of nuclear energy facilities cannot be taken for granted,” wrote Posner, criticizing policies that did not involve the Commission in a process that resulted in the firing of two employees at a different plant after one failed a drug and alcohol test and another was found to be lying about his alcohol abuse.

Finally, nuclear power activists with San Onofre Safety and other groups penned a letter this week to Commission chairman Gregory Jaczko bemoaning the recent discovery of flaws in San Onofre’s diesel backup generators that could have led to their inadvertent shutdown in the event of an earthquake, which in turn could have caused a nuclear meltdown.

Last year, the Reader spoke with nuclear expert/muckraking journalist Greg Palast, who expressed little faith in the ability of the generators to function properly even if the earthquake sensors were operating properly. He pointed to a test of a similar backup system at the dismantled Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant in New York, in which all three of the backup generators failed shortly after coming online.

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Comments

Founder June 8, 2012 @ 2 p.m.

Great News for SoCal; much less risk of a Fukushima meltdown now that these two nuclear turkeys are shut down...

FINALLY some credible reporting on what has up until this point been mostly Nuclear Baloney* foisted upon both the Japanese and those of us in the USA who are now breathing Fukushima radioactive pollution GLOBALLY…

LEFT UNSAID, is why anyone should accept any amounts of radioactive pollution from any reactor World-Wide. If radioactive pollution from say Iran or North Korea covered the USA and Europe like Fukushima’s radioactivity is ow doing, the USA and or NATO would be considering bombing them or at lease rattling sabers; yet because it is Japan, the Nuclear Fascists** just put on a happy face and lobby for ever more nuclear reactors.

Thanks to the web and blogs like this one, many have taken up the call to report on what is really happening not just in Japan and the USA but in every Country that is plagued by leaking and or aged reactors. No more are people willing to accept the myth of 100% safety since Fukushima proved beyond a doubt that Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365! That realization plus the RISK of a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima have made even previous supporters of nuclear energy rethink future Energy plans. With the cost of Solar (of all flavors) dropping almost monthly and the cost of nuclear spiraling ever upward, shifting to renewables has never been more practical unless you are receiving some form of Nuclear Payback***.

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Founder June 8, 2012 @ 2:06 p.m.

San Onofre’s Steam Generator Failures Could Have Been Prevented

Much more info about how the Operators of SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) got caught trying to make major illegal modifications without telling the NRC.

http://fairewinds.com/content/san-onofre%E2%80%99s-steam-generator-failures-could-have-been-prevented

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Founder June 8, 2012 @ 2:47 p.m.

Here are some questions for SD ask SCE:

  1. Why did SCE try to make 39+ major illegal modifications without notifying the NRC?

  2. Where would SCE get the money to pay for a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima, since the Gov't. fund tops at about 12 Billion, which would not even begin to cover the nearby ocean front property in SoCal?

  3. Is SCE prepared to pay for these unauthorized modification itself or are they going to try and make the SoCal ratepayers pay for them?

  4. What is the highest Tsunami wave that San Onofre is designed for?

  5. What is the largest Quake "number" that San Onofre is designed for?

  6. What will SCE do if the proposed Epidemiological Study does show that those that live near San Onofre do have health implications like the French and German Epidemiological Studies?

  7. Where would San Diegans relocate to if radioactive fallout from SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) blows southward?

  8. Why is there no actual evacuation plan for SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency), in the last venting the school children were unable to be evacuated because there are not enough buses?

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DonnaGilmore June 8, 2012 @ 3:19 p.m.

Edison is planting unsubstantiated fears of possible blackouts this summer. Ask for their documentation to back up these false, misleading claims. The 6/8/2012 OC Register article says "State Officials have warned of possible rotating blackouts if a heat wave hits...." What State Officials?

The alphabet soup of agencies that have responsibility for ensuring we have power and electric grid stability (CPUC, CAISO, FERC and NERC) all have written documentation stating we should not have blackouts -- even with a heat wave. CPUC energy charts show a 40% surplus of available power in California. CAISO documentation says it is unlikely we will have blackouts -- they have numerous contingencies to avoid them - even under the most severe conditions. FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff says we'll be in fine shape this summer without San Onofre. NERC projected reserve margins in California are above the regional target of 15.1%. (CPUC requires a reserve margin of 15%.). See details at http://sanonofresafety.org/energy-options/

Edison doesn't want you to know we will be just fine without San Onofre.

They plan to start testing the defective steam generators shortly. "Don't worry about the steam you'll see coming out of San Onofre -- we're just testing", their spokesperson says. However, we all should worry. It means they are planning to push for a restart of these poorly redesigned steam generators. We were "lucky" last time only a “small amount” of radiation leaked into the air from a ruptured tube -- it could have been more serious.

When will our luck run out? No one knows -- not even Edison. But they're losing millions of dollars every day these reactors are shut down, so they are motivated to get their money tree back online as soon as possible while we're on the hook for over a billion dollars for defective equipment, repairs and other expenses for keeping these old reactors running.

Help spread the word: "we don't need San Onofre for energy, so why are we living with the risks?"

Get the facts and free tools to help educate the public and our elected officials. We need to take action now before it's too late. Unfortunately, no one else is going to do it for us. http://sanonofresafety.org/

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Founder June 9, 2012 @ 8:03 a.m.

I think that they are now in a fight to protect their investment from being either (hopefully) shut down permanently or being refitted with new components that they and their shareholders must pay for because they got caught making illegal modifications before; either way their shareholders will dump SCE stock and the President of SCE will have to step down..

Kudos to the Reader for being on top of this story, most of the other MSM's are not posting anything about this issue that affects all of SoCal.

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