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More safety concerns have come to light at the beleaguered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, including a coolant leak into one of the emergency backup generators at the site and a failure to keep proper records of radioactive waste dating back almost 20 years.

During routine maintenance at one of the diesel generators, workers found coolant leaking into the unit’s oil system. According to plant operator Southern California Edison, this could have caused a failure in the generator’s governor system that stops the unit from operating at too high a speed, the Voice of OC reports, also noting that failures of the diesel backup generators in the aftermath of the tsunami that struck in Fukushima were one of the causes of the meltdown that is still plaguing local residents.

Last year the Reader spoke with investigative journalist and former nuclear investigator Greg Palast, who expressed serious concern about the ability of diesel generators to function properly in the event of an emergency regardless of their condition, saying their installation serves the sole purpose of pacifying the public.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors also found that records regarding the plant’s South Yard Facility, where radioactive material such as piping is stored, were not included on mandatory safety reports dating back to 1985. There was, however, no evidence that waste in the area was being improperly handled.

Both violations, as well as a third related to a third related to failures to take corrective actions identified as necessary during previous inspections, were all ranked as being of a low or very low priority.

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Comments

Founder Nov. 13, 2012 @ 8:57 a.m.

News Update: *Nov. 16 NRC Meeting with SCE has been Cancelled!*

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Founder Nov. 13, 2012 @ 9:22 a.m.

I have not seen it cancelled on the NRC website but have called to confirm...

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Founder Nov. 13, 2012 @ 11:12 a.m.

I called the NRC and got a conf. that it is being put off indef. and it is also now posted on the N. County Times and the UT (both owned by the Manchester Group) so it seems they got notified well before any of US...

I'm guessing it was by SCE, since they are so cozy with the UT...

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Founder Nov. 13, 2012 @ 9:25 a.m.

New release form the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS):

Fission Stories #118: Computer Codes and Steam Generators at San Onofre http://allthingsnuclear.org/fission-stories-118-computer-codes-and-steam-generators-at-san-onofre/#comment-430

Enjoy

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Founder Nov. 13, 2012 @ 11:28 a.m.

Contact: Victor Dricks (817) 200-1128 E-Mail: OPA4.Resource@nrc.gov Lara Uselding (817) 200-1519

MEDIA ADVISORY The public meeting between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and representatives of Southern California Edison Co. to discuss steam generator degradation issues at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station set for Friday, Nov. 16, has been postponed. An announcement will be issued when the meeting is rescheduled.

News releases are available through a free Listserv subscription or by clicking on the EMAIL UPDATES link on the NRC homepage (www.nrc.gov). E-mail notifications are sent to subscribers when news releases are posted to NRC's website. For the latest news, follow the NRC on www.twitter.com/NRCgov.

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Visduh Nov. 13, 2012 @ 8:14 p.m.

I find the comment about the backup diesel generators most enlightening. That is, that Greg Palast "expressed serious concern about the ability of diesel generators to function properly in the event of an emergency regardless of their condition, saying their installation serves the sole purpose of pacifying the public." And indeed that did appear in the Reader about a year ago. I'm sure that the blame for their failure to prevent a huge disaster after the quake and tsunami in Japan was the magnitude of the earth movement and subsequent inundation. But it may be more a case of Murphy's Law which states that "if something can go wrong it will." There are a couple of other things tied to that law, one being that nature sides with the hidden flaw. In other words, the planning for the "worst" in the design of these nuclear plants was an exercise in trying to predict the unpredictable.

That plant is looking shakier and shakier (pardon the pun if you see one) all the time. For something that consumed such vast resources to build and maintain, especially now that we learn that it was not properly maintained at all, it has been a huge boondoggle.

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