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San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station operator Southern California Edison announced today that more damaged tubes in its steam generators have been discovered, this time at the plant’s Unit 2 reactor, which the company has been moving toward reactivating, as recently as last week with the apparent blessing of Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Gregory Jaczko.

The Unit 3 reactor was put into emergency shutdown after several tubes burst in late January, leaking radioactive water. Unit 2, however, was already shut down for routine maintenance at the time.

“All of the generators are exhibiting the same kind of wear, though the wear in unit 3 is more excessive than in Unit 2,” says Commission spokesman Victor Dricks of the latest discoveries.

Friends of the Earth, a nuclear watchdog group, says the new findings back up its push for a more extensive investigation into the generators, which were redesigned without Commission oversight.

“Southern California Edison continues to try to downplay the issue, even as they finally admit the truth - there is no difference between reactors 2 and 3 and they have the same problems,” said Shaun Burnie, a nuclear expert with Friends of the Earth.

With reactivating either of the San Onofre units off the table for the immediate future, power officials are looking ahead to the summer. Peak demand during coming hot days may put customers at risk of blackouts, particularly in San Diego, described as an “isolated cul-de-sac” in a 14 state power grid.

Plant operator AES Southland is scrambling to re-activate two 1960s-era natural gas plants in Huntington Beach that had recently begun the decommissioning process. It’s hoped that they will be back online within a month, though even in combination with three other regional plants in Otay Mesa, Carlsbad, and near Escondido and several smaller “peaker” plants some experts have expressed concern over the ability to meet summer’s peak demands.

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johngeesman April 13, 2012 @ 11:10 a.m.

Why did it take so long for this tube-on-tube degradation in Unit 2 to become public? And only after NRC Chairman Jaczko and Congressman Issa had been put in the embarrassing position of suggesting that Unit 2 could be on a fast track for restart?

Unit 2 was down for maintenance when Unit 3's leak caused it to shut down on January 31, and the media reported on February 2: But the OC Register reported on February 2 the following: “ 'They have inspected 80 percent of the tubes in one of the steam generators at unit 2,' said Victor Dricks, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 'Two of the tubes have thinning so extensive that they need to be plugged and taken out of service. Sixty nine other tubes have thinning greater than 20 percent of the wall thickness, and a larger number have thinning greater than 10 percent of wall thickness.' The tubes with 10 percent thinning number more than 800, he said."

After more than 10 weeks, when do we get the scorecard for each of the two SG's in Unit 2 and each of the two SG's in Unit 3?

Certainly Edison International CEO Ted Craver knows the first rule of crisis management is get the information out there quickly and accurately, then live with the consequences. Very bad form, Ted.


Founder April 14, 2012 @ 12:09 p.m.

If you recall, at first they said no problems, then a leak so tiny that it could not be measured, then only a few tubes then MORE tubes, then they are being investigated by the NRC for not being completely open about what design changes were being made as part of the upgrade, now this NRC on-site Review by the head of the NRC himself!

This goes way beyond "very bad form" IMO...


Donna Gilmore April 13, 2012 @ 6:27 p.m.

To stay informed about San Onofre issues, go to http://sanonofresafety.org/

Edison has demonstrated that San Onofre does not provide clean or reliable energy. And government documents show we have a surplus of energy without the two nuclear plants. The California electric grid operator has various contingency plans so we will not have rolling blackout in the summer -- even with peak demand. Their annual Transmission Plans state we don't need San Onofre for stability, even under the most severe contingencies. Who are these "experts" expressing concern over the ability to meet summer’s peak demands? Please name them. This is too serious an issue for this fear mongering of unnamed sources. Don't allow the deception to continue. Let's stick to the facts.

Edison and SDG&E customers pay billions of dollars to keep this plant running, including paying for these defective generators -- while Edison makes millions in profits. And now the CPUC is requiring us to pay millions for earthquake studies and maintenance for a nuclear plant we don't need. Why are they doing this?

Both nuke plants kill millions of marine life every year with their Once Through Cooling technology, yet the California Water Resources Control Board is allowing these plants to continue to operate for years, with no viable plan on the horizon to mitigate the destruction of our marine life. They have the authority to shut these plants down. Why are they not doing it?

We're sitting ducks with the tons of toxic waste sitting at that plant.

NRC data shows San Onofre has the worst safety record of all US nuclear power plants and the highest rate of retaliation against employees who report safety problems. Edison will try to say they are improving to deflect from the fact that they are the worst in the nation.

They continue to use poor judgment in their management decisions and the NRC has put that in their performance reports. The decision to redesign the steam generators could have cost us our cities. Steam generator failures can cause a loss of water, resulting in a meltdown and large on-going releases of toxic radiation. You may not be investing in Edison stock, but you are investing your lives and everything you hold dear to you in Southern California.


Founder April 14, 2012 @ 12:03 p.m.

Don't forget to read the earlier piece on this: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

and then attend this:

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!



Founder April 14, 2012 @ 12:10 p.m.

From an earlier post but still relivent:

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!


Founder April 14, 2012 @ 12:12 p.m.

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?


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