Portion of Feinstein letter to ambassador
  • Portion of Feinstein letter to ambassador
  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

New documents have surfaced that show Sen. Dianne Feinstein — as a favor to Southern California Edison — wrote the United States ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, asking her to intervene with the government of Japan to put blame on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the flawed equipment that brought down the San Onofre nuclear plant.

The documents were obtained and provided San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Mia Severson.

Michael Peevey

Feinstein wrote to Kennedy on November 14, 2013. Five days later, Ted Craver, Edison's highest officer, sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission, attaching Feinstein's letter. The package was also sent to Secretary of State John Kerry and other important U.S. officials.

Craver wrote this letter to the utilities commission months after the notorious secret huddle in Warsaw, Poland, in which then-commission president Michael Peevey, a former president of Edison, essentially dictated the terms of a deal in which ratepayers would pay $3.3 billion in San Onofre decommissioning costs. Craver knew of the results of the clandestine Polish meeting.

Yet, on November 19, Craver wrote the commission and said this was not "a simple dispute between commercial parties," but it "affects millions of California ratepayers."

Feinstein's letter to Kennedy said, "I would appreciate it if you would engage the Government of Japan to urge Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compensate California's electricity ratepayers for the costs associated with the premature" closing of San Onofre.

Feinstein even asked Kennedy to raise the point in then-ongoing negotiations over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. This occurred during a time when California's other senator, Barbara Boxer, was calling for a criminal investigation of the San Onofre shuttering.

In the documents that have already come out, it is clear that Edison management pressured Mitsubishi to use materials that turned out to be defective — not the other way around. The blame lies with Edison, not Mitsubishi. These letter exchanges represent the height of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

"This is the most embarrassing and improper thing done in the entire process," says Aguirre.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Sponsor Partners

More from SDReader

Comments

CaptainObvious Nov. 26, 2015 @ 9:03 a.m.

I dont understand why you people in the Big 3 Cities that rule California keep electing the Daffy Duo. Insane people can be entertaining, but dont put them in charge of the asylum.

1

Don Bauder Nov. 26, 2015 @ 9:17 a.m.

CaptainObvious: It's interesting that one California senator, Feinstein, will break rules of diplomatic decorum to help a company with deep roots of corruption, while another senator, Boxer, was calling for an investigation of the same company for its deeply embedded corruption. Best, Don Bauder

1

Visduh Nov. 26, 2015 @ 11:34 a.m.

This is one of those situations where I don't know whether laugh or cry. If DiFi had written the letter for the purpose of preventing a rip-off of ratepayers, it would have been more understandable. But keep in mind that she and her hobby are uber-rich, and likely have forgotten the reality of life for small-fry folks in the state.

But the other part of this is learning that Caroline Kennedy is now ambassador to Japan. CAROLINE KENNEDY??? A few years back she was being considered to fill a senate vacancy, and her performance revealed a lack of ability to do anything like that. Moreover her resume as a NYC socialite, following in the shoes of her mother, didn't qualify her in the slightest. At one time, not long ago, that ambassadorship was considered one of the most critical diplomatic posts in the US government. At times it may have been seen as THE most important. How far it has fallen.

So, DiFi asking the ambassador to pressure the Japanese government in substantive talks is a real scream. Caroline herself will never engage in such talks. Oh, her staff might do things like that; in fact, they surely do. But this is another one of those situations that is so bizarre that you couldn't make it up for a satyric piece.

1

Don Bauder Nov. 26, 2015 @ 2:20 p.m.

Visduh. Was Feinstein merely writing a letter for a constituent? That is no excuse, because she was asking for intervention that was clearly a very serious violation of protocol.

Or did Feinstein know that the blame lay with Edison, not Mitsubishi? Did she know that Edison and CPUC had collaborated in a secret, illegal scheme to fleece ratepayers? After all, the governor knew. Best, Don Bauder

1

CaptD Nov. 27, 2015 @ 9:04 a.m.

Don — I believe that Senator Boxer did this because she too is also deeply involved in #SanOnofreGate * since she received notarized documentation about what was going on at San Onofre early on and then sat on it instead of making it public (since she was in charge of the NRC Senate Over Site Committee). That delay helped SCE sidestep investigations into their wrong doing, which also protected everybody now connected to #SanOnofreGate (including Gov. Brown, AG Harris, the CPUC, NRC Region IV, many local elected officials that have all turned a blind eye on the ratepayer ripoff and of course SDG&E (and Gov. Brown's sister who sits on their Board), who all are trying their best to stay out of the lime light.

If Aguirre & Severson are not allowed to seek justice via a fair and unbiased investigation, then #SanOnofreGate will prove once and for all that the state of CA is rigged, and everything coming from the State Capitol is noting but political $PIN, since the majority of all our elected Leaders are now on the dole.

** The hashtag about the ongoing investigation into the multi-billion $ SCE-CPUC ripoff.

2

Don Bauder Nov. 27, 2015 @ 12:20 p.m.

CaptD: I have made discreet inquiries iito why Sen. Boxer was hot on the topic at one time, but now seems to have dropped it. I can't yet buy your complicity thesis, but agreee it is worth lookiing into. Best, Don Bauder

0

Flapper Nov. 27, 2015 @ 11:13 p.m.

The first news reports about the oversize load that shut down I-8 in El Cajon was first reported as a "nuclear generator." Later reports said it was a "tank." Methinks they were right the first time, but Homeland Security got to them. Semper vigilans!

0

danfogel Nov. 28, 2015 @ 8:06 a.m.

Yeah, it must have been that pesky old word "nuclear" that got to you. SONGS didn't/doesn't have "nuclear generators". Instead, pressurized water reactor were used. The "nuclear" part is the nuclear fuel in the reactor vessel. The nuclear fission process heats water in the primary coolant loop then the hot coolant is pumped into a heat exchanger called, wait for it, a STEAM generator. The coolant evaps into steam, which turns a steam turbine which drives an ELECTRICAL generator, which produces electricity. A little simplified, but that's how it works. No "nuclear generator", only a steam and electric generator.

0

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 9:22 a.m.

danfogel: The nuclear waste will be stored close to the ocean, thanks to Edison, the CPUC, and the coastal commission. Maybe they should be stored permanently on the highway, in trucks. Best, Don Bauder.

0

danfogel Nov. 28, 2015 @ 8:35 p.m.

don bauder, perhaps you could query the Obama administration as to why they desire to to close the Yucca Mountain facility, in violation of federal law.

0

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 10:06 p.m.

danfogel: Good idea. There is no logical place to store nuclear waste now. Best, Don Bauder

0

CaptD Nov. 28, 2015 @ 10:57 a.m.

Dan - You are downplaying the importance of the steam generator tubes to shield US from the highly RADIOACTIVE reactor core coolant that circulates inside all the tubes before going back to cool the reactor core.

Steam Generator Basics: The steam flowing around the U-tube bundle inside a nuclear steam generator (SG) increases as a function of the reactor’s power level (the hot reactor coolant flowing inside the tubes), its circulation ratio and the height, thickness, heat transfer coefficient, and number of tubes in the tube bundle. If not designed and/or operated properly, a phenomenon known as In-Plane Fluid Elastic Instability (IPFEI) can occur. IPFEI results when areas of “dry” steam form around the outside of some of the tubes. IPFEI causes high secondary fluid velocities; excessive hydro-dynamic pressures, and reduces tube damping. Some of the U-tubes inside each of San Onofre’s Replacement Steam Generators (RSGs) bundle of 9,727 U-bends, because of their shape, have less rigidity and/or less in-plane dampening strength and were thus affected by these factors. These tubes will move with large amplitudes in the in-plane direction unless the U-tube bundle is designed with tube supports that have large contact forces (>30 Newtons) to restrain them. Otherwise the U-tubes can repeatedly strike against other adjacent U-tubes and cause tube-to-tube wear. If the wear becomes excessive, the tube walls can leak or crack -- or even fail, causing a break-away/rupture in one or more of the tubes that are tightly packed inside the RSGs. Any leakage would allow the high temperature, radioactive reactor core primary coolant circulating inside the tubes (which is under high pressure – about 2250 psi) to flash into steam and mix with the secondary coolant loop water/steam mixture, which is at a much lower pressure (about 833-942 psi). If radioactive core coolant leaks from the primary loop to the secondary loop, some of it would then escape into the environment when the steam is condensed back to water (this is how the January 31, 2012 tube leak at San Onofre was discovered). Since the tubes in the SGs are packed so close together, one tube failure could damage adjacent tubes, leading to a possible cascade of tube failures. Additionally, if enough primary coolant is lost (one broken-away tube might be enough, and definitely two or three), the reactor core could become uncovered in less than 15 minutes, resulting in a catastrophic nuclear meltdown, which if it had occurred at San Onofre, would have affected all southern California.

1

danfogel Nov. 28, 2015 @ 8:24 p.m.

captd/founder Perhaps you shouldn't take yourself so seriously. Remember, I own a home only a handful of miles from SONGS. I don't need a primer in steam generator basics. Flapper made a sarcastic comment about the always vigilant DHS quashing a report of a "nuclear reactor" on I5 and I provided en equally sarcastic reply. Tantum ea quae quaerimus neque maiora nec minora inveniemus.

0

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 10:14 p.m.

danfdogel: I believe you have said that you live iin that home only part of the year. Maybe you will be lucky enough to be in your other home when the nuclear waste spews all over Orange and San Diego counties. Best, Don Bauder

0

danfogel Nov. 30, 2015 @ 8:40 a.m.

don bauder, I don't actually live there any longer. My daughter recently took a new job which brought her down to Irvine, so she lives there and I bought another home in a beach town further north up the coast. But I get your point. But I doubt there would be much chance of spewage. I would think it be more like seepage. That said, yes if there would be spewage, yeas Orange and San Diego counties would be affected and, depending upon the time of year, the prevailing winds could also carry the spewage northeast, possibly in the direction of Salida. So it appears that you are possibly not safe as well.

0

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 10:09 p.m.

CaptD: I can't asrgue with your thesis because, frasnkly, I do not understand it. Best, Don Bauder

0

CaptD Nov. 29, 2015 @ 2:34 p.m.

Don — Lets use a car analogy. Imagine while climbing up a long grade on a hot day, one of the tubes inside your vehicle radiator springs a leak. How long does it take for all the "coolant" to spew forth, even though you pull over? Now you are stranded, with hot coolant pooling under your vehicle with steam coming out of your hood. By this time, hopefully you would be parked safely on the side of the road and calling for a tow.

Now lets talk about San Onofre's steam generators. Inside each of the huge replacement steam generators (RSGs) are 9,727 individual tubes. Each tube is about the diameter of a penny, with a wall thickness that is thinner (0.043 inches) than a dime (0.053 inches). These tubes are designed to transfer the heat generated by the reactor core. The tubes also serve as a vitally important physical boundary for the highly radioactive, high temperature, primary coolant loop that circulates from the reactor core through the inside of the RSG tubes before returning to the reactor. If one or more of these tubes springs a leak, or much worse fails (ruptures) it could flail around and damage other tubes which would create a cascade of tube failures. This could very quickly lead to uncovering of the reactor core and even a potential meltdown like Fukushima. This is why a tube leak is a very BIG deal, despite what the nuclear industry says. San Onofre proved that a cascade of tube leaks is possible, since many tubes failed later in-situ [in place] pressure testing with non-radioactive coolant. This was termed by the NRC as a “very serious” safety issue. As a result of SCE's design and operational errors, the almost-new San Onofre RSG’s had more damaged and/or plugged tubes than the rest of all the US power plants combined, which is unprecedented in the history of the U.S. Operating Nuclear Fleet.*

1

jwl Nov. 28, 2015 @ 7:40 p.m.

SONGS is an acronym for San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Quibbles about nomenclature don't need to be so catty, dan.

1

danfogel Nov. 28, 2015 @ 8:29 p.m.

Yes I am aware of what SONGS means. I have driven past it probably thousands of times and own a home a few miles away. I made a sarcastic reply to a sarcastic comment. Perhaps it is you who is the catty one, having only joined today.

0

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 10:23 p.m.

danfogel: But we welcome jwl. Best, Don Bauder

0

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 10:16 p.m.

jwl: It is true that SONGS is an acronym, but the Reader doesn't use it, Best, Don Bauder

0

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 9:16 a.m.

Flapper: I certainly hope you are wrong, but I fear it is very likely tehat you are right. Best,,Don Bauder

0

Flapper Nov. 27, 2015 @ 11:18 p.m.

Mitsubishi, as the professional hired to do the work, had a responsibility to put the work before the buck. This does not, however, excuse the whole bullet-train of lies that track back to its origins.

1

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 9:24 a.m.

Flapper: The blame for the whole fiasco lies with Edison and the CPUC, not Mitsubishi. Best, Don Bauder

0

Flapper Nov. 28, 2015 @ 9:35 a.m.

Even if they knowingly capitulated to pressure to "economize" by putting out an inferior product to get the contract?

0

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 10:25 p.m.

Flapper: You will get some arguments against that thesis. Best, Don Bauder

0

Flapper Nov. 28, 2015 @ 11:46 p.m.

One must take courage. And I don't mean drink British beer.

However, the courageous do not fear to make specific statements.

Did Mitsubishi knowingly and purposefully cave in to Edison demands for weaker specifications?

0

Don Bauder Nov. 29, 2015 @ 12:31 p.m.

Flapper. If Mitsubishi caved to Edison's desire to cut corners, then we have two culpable parties. But one party is mainly to blame: Edison. Best, Don Bauder

0

eastlaker Nov. 28, 2015 @ 12:09 p.m.

Almost like watching Arthur Miller's "All My Sons", except without the reckoning.

0

Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2015 @ 10:27 p.m.

eastlaker: Sorry. Have never seen nor read the play. Best, Don Bauder

0

eastlaker Nov. 29, 2015 @ 5:05 p.m.

Excellent work about a supplier of parts for WW II airplanes who knowingly shipped out shoddy work, so that young men died.

0

Don Bauder Nov. 30, 2015 @ 9:45 a.m.

East laker. A lesson for me. best, Don Bauder

0

Don Bauder Nov. 29, 2015 @ 9:43 a.m.

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ALSO SENT LETTERS FOR EDISON, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS CLEAR BY THAT TIME THAT THE BLAME LAY WITH EDISON. Further letters that local attorneys Mike Aguirre and Mia Severson unearthed show that Edison got key members of the California Congressional delegation to write letters meant to show Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, not Edison, was to blame for the San Onofre closing.

That was untrue. By the time the letters were written, Sen. Barbara Boxer had released so-called "root cause" letters showing that Southern California Edison was aware of the defects that ultimately brought San Onofre down, but Edison did not follow up because it would have had to report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, says Aguirre. Also, the public would have been able to comment. Boxer wanted a criminal investigation.

Ted Craver, the highest official at Edison, wrote to Michael Peevey, head of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), to boast about the political support he was getting. Craver included copies of the letters signed by members of Congress, as well as the one signed by Sen. Feinstein (see above). Peevey, of course, knew that the blame lay with Edison, not Mitsubishi. So did Craver. Thus, the letters are overflowing with known falsehoods.

One letter was sent to Michael Froman, United States trade representative. The letter attempted to put pressure on Froman to pressure Japan to punish Mitsubishi. Those who signed: Darrell Issa, Edward Royce, Kevin McCarthy, and Buck McKeon, members of Congress,.The letter said that the Edison/Mitsubishi dispute would go to arbitration, which is a long process. The Congress members wanted Froman to pressure Japan to get Mitsubishi to capitulate. Aguirre says this is disgraceful and I agree. Best, Don Bauder

0

Flapper Nov. 29, 2015 @ 1:14 p.m.

Got any links to the cited material?

0

Don Bauder Nov. 29, 2015 @ 3:45 p.m.

Flapper: I have copies of the letters. I will send them to the Reader with the hope they will be printed. Best, Don Bauder

0

CaptD Nov. 29, 2015 @ 1:59 p.m.

Don — Your comment illustrates how these powerful Utilities got elected Officials to try and sway public opinion by wanting MHI to take the blame since it would make the rest of them (NRC, the CPUC, SCE and SDG&E) look like they had done nothing wrong; when in fact, documentation shows that all of them were in on the San Onofre Replacement Steam Generator (RSG) Project coverup in varying degrees. I believe that of all of them, MHI was probably the one that had tried to do the right thing from the beginning.

We now know that SCE made it very clear that they, not MHI, were in charge of the RSG design process. In fact, what SCE was primarily interested in was that MHI build the RSGs as designed, on time and without going over budget. We also know that SCE failed to give MHI basic thermal hydrodynamic data concerning the Original Steam Generators (OSG). Later the NRC would cite SCE (and their design engineers) for failing to question any of MHI’s RSG’s velocity calculations or even compare them to the previous velocity/stability information submitted by them to the NRC in 2001.

The multiple failures of SCE's design team to do even the most basic engineering comparative calculations leads one to wonder, what was SCE’s large team of Professional Design Engineers doing in Japan besides having fun?

1

CaptD Nov. 29, 2015 @ 2 p.m.

Here are just a few examples:

December 14, 2004, MHI, Kobe, Japan – SCE/MHI Design Review Meeting: Edison Comment No. 15: “We are NOT revising the RSGs [Conformed Design and Fabrication Specifications] CDS at this time. However, [Edison Engineer] stated that we have to do some sort of work to document our letters that provided design input. [Edison Engineer] was concerned that SCE does not get into QA jail for providing design input other than the CDS.”

January 28, 2008: SCE failed to verify or check the adequacy of Mitsubishi’s developed design Documents, “Evaluation of Tube Vibration,” for the flow-induced vibration design and was later cited by the NRC.

April 2, 2008, SCE failed to verify or check the adequacy of Mitsubishi’s developed design Documents, “Three-Dimensional Thermal and Hydraulic Analysis,” respectively, for the thermal-hydraulic designs and was later cited by the NRC.

1

Don Bauder Nov. 29, 2015 @ 3:55 p.m.

CaptD: This is important information. Best, Don Bauder

0

CaptD Nov. 30, 2015 @ 3:30 p.m.

Don — This is just the tip of the "Timeline Iceberg" that will sink SCE's Settlement, since they cannot deny their own documentation, much of which has already been shared not only with Aguirre & Severson but all the others that are now involved the #SanOnofreGate coverup.

Since everyone involved will now know that ratepayers know that they are involved, the smart ones will be more likely to start talking. The first one(s) to speak out will probably receive immunity, whereas the last to talk will have to face a real judge in a real court of law to explain why they took part in what is clearly an illegal multi-billion dollar coverup.

BTW: We both know that SCE and SDG&E have large numbers of their own lawyers. We also know that the CPUC has hired very expensive lawyers to defend their own but I predict that those expensive lawyers will end up charging the CPUC huge fees (that will only further enrage the public, since they will end up paying their bill, thanks to the CA regulatory statutes that Gov. Brown failed to change) just to secure plea bargains for all involved.

0

CaptD Nov. 30, 2015 @ 2:56 p.m.

Flapper — SCE's own San Onofre website, http://www.songscommunity.com

You have to root around in the older documents, check for design meeting notes and other relevant documents.

They all make great reading (especially if you are an engineer) and I'd suggest that you copy them to your own hard drive so that should they disappear from the website you will still have them to refer too.

0

Don Bauder Nov. 29, 2015 @ 3:53 p.m.

CaptD: Yes, Edison and the CPUC, and to a lesser extent SDG&E (a minority owner of San Onofre), were to blame. Mitsubishi may have made mistakes, but they are small next to the deliberate short-cutting and coordinated coverup of Edison and the CPUC, in concert. Best, Don Bauder

0

Flapper Nov. 29, 2015 @ 4:13 p.m.

What really matters is whether or not "mistakes" were mere miscalculations or calculated deviations from good engineering practice. Professionals are (or should be) required by ethical principles and sometimes law to refuse to be driven by client demands--FORCED to do it the client's way or hit the highway. Only those (Cap'n D?) in the know will have this information. If MHI knew, they should have hit the highway and let Edison et al find a firm that would prostitute itself.

1

Don Bauder Nov. 30, 2015 @ 9:49 a.m.

flapper. In this case, the client, Edison, was most culpable, as the subsequent coverup showed. Best, Don Bauder

0

CaptD Nov. 30, 2015 @ 4:18 p.m.

Flapper — Since SCE was the Operator of San Onofre, they were responsible for and earned huge profits from the Replacement Steam Generator Project (RSGP) as they presented it to the both CPUC and the NRC.

Many more specifics will come out shortly!

2

Don Bauder Dec. 1, 2015 @ 10:16 p.m.

CaptD: Will the Reader get those specifics -- hopefully first? Best, Don Bauder

0

CaptD Dec. 2, 2015 @ 2:49 p.m.

Don — You (and the SD Reader) are first in line since you have not flinched when calling out both SCE and SDG&E not to mention everybody else involved in #SanOnofreGate * .

BTW: Did you ever see my latest reply to your reply? http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/nov/25/ticker-senator-pressure-mitsubishi-failed-reactor/#c194527

  • The new hashtag that will allow you to keep up to date on the ongoing investigation into the multi-billion $ SCE-CPUC ripoff.
0

Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!

Close