Friday, October 5, 2012

San Onofre Nuke Restart Cancelled

San Onofre Nuke Restart Cancelled
The Nukes at San Onofre are mirror images of each another.
To shutdown one, and startup the other, is suicidal. 
If you look at the charts released by Southern California Edison (SCE) today, showing the tube wear in the replacement steam generators in San Onofre Units 2 and 3, nearly every chart looks identical from one unit to the other in location, shape, and so forth, if not in amplitude: Unit 3 had more of everything, but its clear that the basic design was bad. It apparently wasn't a manufacturing or operating error that caused the problem, and it can't be fixed without completely redesigning the steam generators, and that will take several years.

While that's undoubtedly what they plan to do for unit three, and while the two reactor's steam generator designs are virtually identical, we're nevertheless told they're utterly different -- as long as Unit 2 is operated at 70% power for not more than about eight months.

SCE has chosen five months as the maximum operating time without further inspection. They'll know their plan is a failure if/when a tube ruptures. It's the only way to tell.

After eight months, the estimated risk probability (which steadily increases as long as the plant is running) gets too high. It's very literally a calculated risk. SCE feels that limiting themselves to five months is "conservative" and "safe."

Is it? One activist put it this way: "Their safety plan is simply to watch more carefully for radioactive leaks!"

Tell SCE no!

And while you're at it, ask for your portion of the 1.2 billion dollar + interest rebate they owe all their rate payers! (that's the $671 million we are paying for the replacement steam generators, plus an additional $65 million per month that rate payers are paying SCE and SDG&E for nothing, while the reactor units are out of commission.)

SCE plan to run at 70% power means 70% output power to the grid. What the actual pressure differences, temperature differences, flow rate differences, etc. will be is (hopefully) buried in the minutia SCE published today as part of their restart plan (I haven't found it yet, though), but it will be >70%, that's for sure! And what's to stop them from exceeding the 70% figure? SCE says power will be limited "administratively", which means an "administrative" decision can be made to increase the power to 71% -- or 100%. It could even be done by accident, or by a hot-shot control-room operator who thinks it's safe and wants to prove it! That's basically what happened in Chernobyl: The operators ran unauthorized safety "tests". This whole operation is an unauthorized safety test. The people do not authorize it!

Plus, Edison might also be tempted to exceed that 70% power level during a "Flex Alert" emergency in order to protect "grid stability" since SanO is considered "baseline" power (and SCE would get well-paid for doing it).

Will Fluid Elastic Instability (FEI) occur during a Main Steam Line Break (MSLB), perhaps because one of the new sensors they plan to add to detect leaks pops out because it wasn't installed properly by Curly, Moe, and Larry, the work crew at SanO? (And of course, they were afraid to report that they couldn't fit it in right, because of ongoing worker intimidation at the plant!)

These already-worn-out steam generator tubes could vibrate excessively during a variety of "unusual events". How does an "administrative limit" guarantee anything?

And what about the ever-present possibility of unintended "power excursions" inside the reactor? These are one of the most-feared (and least understood) potential events in a nuclear plant! How can SanO possibly guarantee that a power excursion won't require more than 70% heat removal through the steam generators?

What if controls rods fail to drop because of an earthquake that also causes a MSLB?

Earthquakes are not a chance or random occurrence for SanO: They are an inevitability. And I mean big ones! It's just a question of when, not IF, which is yet another reason not to allow a restart of SanO when it is not in 100% perfect working condition -- or ever.

The extra "N-16 sensors" they plan to add, prove that they realize they are still battling the POSSIBILITY of FEI and they don't know if their solutions will work. So in fact, they are experimenting with our lives and our communities, and putting our future at stake. Furthermore their decision to add these sensors proves that pressurized water reactors around the country probably also need to SHUT-DOWN to add these sensors as well. The USA cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima, especially in Southern California!

Nitrogen-16 is produced in copious quantities inside the reactor, but its decay is so rapid (seven seconds) that by the time it was detected on January 31st, the leak had already grown significantly. In a very short time, FEI can go from a small leak to a full-on cascading series of tube failures, which would cause a nuclear incident or even a major nuclear accident!

SCE's Ron Litzinger stated this morning (see below): "When implemented, this plan will get San Onofre Unit 2 back to providing reliable and clean energy to Southern Californians."

Ron Litzinger's quote should read: "When implemented, this experimental plan will cause San Onofre Unit 2 to once again create about 250 pounds per day of waste that is so toxic, that the daily amount alone is enough poison, if it gets released, to render all of Southern California permanently uninhabitable within hours -- long before any actual evacuation could have occurred."

He should then have added that when he says San Onofre will be reliable, he means until something else breaks, or an outside triggering event occurs, such as a grid failure, earthquake, tsunami, etc.. And then he could mention that after running for five months at 70% power, and then inspecting the steam generators as quickly and lightly as they can get away with, they'll request to run hotter, for longer.

Also notice their current plan would almost surely put Unit 2 out of commission for inspection right smack during the summer months of 2013, a peak usage time. Are they hoping for blackouts next summer, having missed them this summer despite San Onofre being inoperable since January 31?

San Onofre's replacement steam generators were never reliable, and they won't be now, since they are already damaged. All of San Onofre is old and unreliable.

The safest thing for Southern California is to keep San Onofre shut down forever, especially since we have a 40% power surplus that is safely generated without it!