San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
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Possibly for the last time, nuclear alert sirens sounded off three times across Camp Pendleton and southern Orange County on Wednesday morning (October 15).

Between 10 a.m. and noon, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station operator Southern California Edison tested the emergency sirens placed in communities surrounding the defunct power plant.

But under a new emergency plan that Edison has before the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the sirens, which the utility says could also be used by local governments in the event of a non-nuclear emergency, will go silent. Edison says that the fact the reactors are no longer active reduces the necessary scope of future emergency planning, effectively rendering the siren system obsolete.

Still, "Protecting the health and safety of workers and the public remains our most important responsibility," said Edison vice president and chief nuclear officer Tom Palmisano in a release.

Despite the utility's statements to the contrary, nuclear watchdog groups say there's still a cause for concern over the state of highly radioactive nuclear waste that's been piling up at San Onofre since the plant opened in 1968.

"The federal government required an emergency zone, and the utilities and industry fought hard to limit coverage" when the plant first went online, notes Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility executive director Rochelle Becker. "There is no longer a profit to be made from waste storage, but there is nowhere for that waste to go. California should not stand idly by while the federal government abandons radioactive dumps," she cautions.

Becker goes on to warn that spent nuclear fuel rods are stored in overcrowded waste pools, where they must remain for a number of years before it's safe to transition them to dry-cask storage (another temporary measure at best).

"We didn't start the fire, and we'll be damned if we’re forced to burn our wallets for another several decades to pay for power we will never again receive."

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Comments

shirleyberan Oct. 16, 2014 @ 7:49 p.m.

It would be nice if pussy footing was over when it comes to how long it takes once a nuclear power plant ceases operation for us to feel safe . Never would be my first guess. 10's of thousands of years while covered in cement ... How the H does that work out to not be stupid regret for endangering us all?

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CaptD Oct. 17, 2014 @ 6:45 a.m.

If massive amounts of radioactive waste are stored at San Onofre, then it STILL makes sense to keep the emergency sirens and many other emergency services operational at San Onofre.

For example, if we get THE BIG ONE, how will all those living within 50 miles of San Onofre know if there is a problem, "word of mouth"?

This is nothing but a Utility cost savings measure that makes no sense and hopefully the NRC will not allow it to happen; if they do it is yet another attempt to paint nuclear as harmless when the exact opposite is the case - Think Fukushima...

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AlexClarke Oct. 17, 2014 @ 6:58 a.m.

My guess is that if you add the costs of building SONGS, operating it. tearing it down and transportation/storage of nuclear waste it will be the highest cost per KWH ever. It would be interesting to see someone with more math skills and information than I have put some numbers to it.

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MichaelValentine Oct. 17, 2014 @ 9:20 a.m.

Nuclear energy will be so cheap that they will do away with meters.

1950's bullshit propaganda.

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Diogenes Oct. 18, 2014 @ 12:13 p.m.

San Onofre came close to having a meltdown, according to insiders. Those pressure tubes were defectively designed when they were replaced. All of Southern California was placed at risk for a small fraction of the electrical energy. Profit was placed over safety, according to numerous engineers. The NRC is withholding documents from Senator Boxer's Committee that show that Edison should have sought a relicensing hearing if there were design changes to the replacement pressure tubes.

The NRC has failed to conduct appropriate regulation in the past as well. The community activists, environmental groups, generous donors, and Senator Boxer may well have saved Southern California. The cover up continues from Edison, to the NRC to the Public Utilities Commission.

The magnitude of the risk is not infinite but large enough to never be justified. Solar and wind can replace nuclear energy as the cost comes down. Factor in the true cost of safety and nuclear was never cheap. Look at true costs at Fukushima and Chernobyl.

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CaptD Oct. 19, 2014 @ 5:03 p.m.

A perfect example: Solar, wind cost-competitive for peak energy, study finds

Consultant questions subsidies for residential solar when costs are dropping

snip

Solar and wind power are increasingly cost-competitive with conventional forms of electrical power, including coal and nuclear, even without subsidies, according to a new study.

“The economics of alternative energy have changed dramatically in the last decade,” said George Bilicic, global head of the power energy and infrastructure group at Lazard Ltd. and author of the report.

http://www.cbc.ca/1.2781609">http://www.cbc.ca/1.2781609

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danfogel Oct. 19, 2014 @ 8:27 p.m.

captd/founder you have to do more than just cherry pick when you read an article like this. In that same article, the same guy, George Bilicic, also made these comments. 1. "As a source of PEAK(my emphasis) energy photovoltaics are more flexible and cost-competitive than conventional technologies." 2. He said the same study "questioned the value of subsidies for homeowners who put solar panels on their roof, saying such subsidies may be distorting the energy planning process" and "Relative to utility scale renewable, it’s a high-cost product." 3. "Without subsidies residential-scale solar photovoltaic solar panels remain considerably more expensive than utility-scale solar." 4. "large-scale generation is still more manageable and cost-competitive for base-load generation." and 5. "natural gas power generation will be a transition source, between coal or nuclear and renewables"

Keep this in mind. This guy is not a renewable energy expert. He is an investment banker. He heads their investment banking business and global efforts in power, energy and infrastructure. HIs focus has been on on mergers and acquisitions. I've read alot of his stuff at Lazard and he's all about telling them where to make money. And if you read what he said, he's not talking about residential solar, he's talking about utility generated solar and how utilities can make money generating their own. BTW, since you never answered my question, I'll ask again. Since you're such a proponent of residential solar, have you installed it yet. The last I recall, a couple of yrs ago, you said you hadn't because SDG&E wasn't paying enough for the power going back into the grid.

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CaptD Oct. 20, 2014 @ 5:16 p.m.

danfogel

  1. I post articles that I feel will expand the conversation, this was such an article.

  2. “Residential” Solar is my idea of the right path toward ever lower energy rates for roof owners. Utilities on the other hand, want everyone to buy their Solar generated energy, which they sell for far more than what they pay roof owners for the same Energy they generate. Hopefully a more "realistic:" CPUC (without Mr. Peevey and maybe even others) will stop that one sided “rip off” practice.

  3. Like most people, I'll add Solar only when it pencils out for me. That said, if I had the money to purchase it and an eVehicle to use with it (since it could also help store what I generate) I would do it ASAP.

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danfogel Oct. 20, 2014 @ 6 p.m.

captd/founder 1, 2: all well and good. 3. I guess it depends on what your definition of pencil out means, in terms of ROI over how long a term. I view it this way. Solar pv will never be free.While solar PV will continue to decrease in price over time, though I doubt the pace it of reductions will continue to be as steep as they are now, the biggest challenge at this time is not how cheaply panels can be produced, but how to make panels more efficient. The most efficient panels are about 21% efficient, while most are around15% efficient. That will likely result in more expensive panels, with a cost per Kwh drop due to less panels being needed. When you factor in the future drop in gov't subsidies and the increase in the price of electricity, there will be a tipping point where it becomes a zero sum game. At some point, the drop in the cost of installing will be negated by the loss of subsidies and the rate increases incurred over the time before the system installed. IN some cases, age may be a factor. For example, had Don Bauder installed a system when he first moved into his palatial estate in Colorado, the investment would probably have been worth it. However, even allowing for at least several years longer than normal life expectancy, it's unlikely that he would see a return on investment. I don't know if that scenario applies to you or not. Sometimes it just boils down to available funds.

All of that being said however, I was merely pointing out that the first line of your post indicated that the subject was residential solar, thereby leaving one to assume the remainder of the post also was about residential solar, while the primary topic of the article you linked was about utility generated solar and that the author, whose name you included is not a renewable energy guy, he's a corporate money guy. As you said, expanding the conversation, by adding more complete and accurate information.

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CaptD Oct. 21, 2014 @ 10:09 a.m.

danfogel - I'm always interested in what you have to say and wish many others would also add their voices to not only the use of Solar but all the other topics that the quality of life in SoCal and beyond.

RE: When you factor in the future drop in gov't subsidies and the increase in the price of electricity, there will be a tipping point where it becomes a zero sum game. At some point, the drop in the cost of installing will be negated by the loss of subsidies and the rate increases incurred over the time before the system installed.

I believe that new developments in not only solar panel technology but also storage options will make installing Solar (of all flavors) an ever better deal, unless the CA BIG Utilities and the CPUC that regulates them turns a blind eye on ratepayers instead of making CA the poster State of installing solar on as many residential/commercial rooftops as possible.

The more Solar we install the sooner we will comply with proposed CA Clean Air standards and the more robust our Grid will be, since ever more of our Energy generation will be at or very near the point of use, instead of depending upon distant BIG Utility regional generation, which is especially important should we have a major quake or other natural disaster.

Free Solar Energy is a terrible thing to waste - CaptD

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