Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NRC: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

NRC: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

... and why it is unsafe To restart San Onofre

A GOOD NRC enforcement example:

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station is a nuclear power plant in Oak Harbor, Ohio. On March 5, 2002, maintenance workers discovered that corrosion had eaten a football-sized hole into the reactor vessel head of the Davis-Besse plant. Corrosion had been clogging the plant’s filters for months, requiring repeated filter replacement, but the cause was not investigated until after a worker leaned against a control rod drive mechanism, and it toppled over. Although the corrosion did not lead to an accident, this was considered to be a serious nuclear safety incident. Some observers have criticized the NRC’s Commission work as an example of regulatory capture [See Note 1] and the NRC has been accused of doing an inadequate job by the Union of Concerned Scientists.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission kept Davis-Besse shut down until March 2004, so that FirstEnergy was able to perform all the necessary maintenance for safe operations. The NRC imposed its largest fine evermore than $5 million—against FirstEnergy for the actions that led to the corrosion. The company paid an additional $28 million in fines under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The NRC closely monitored FENOC’s response and concluded in September 2009 that FENOC met the conditions of the 2004 order. From 2004 through 2009 the NRC reviewed 20 independent assessments conducted at the plant and verified the independent assessors’ credentials. The agency also conducted its own inspections and reviewed FENOC’s reactor vessel inspections conducted in early 2005. NRC inspectors paid particular attention to the order’s focus on safety culture and safety conscious work environment to ensure there were no new signs of weakness. The NRC task force concluded that the corrosion, occurred for several reasons:

·    NRC, Davis-Besse and the nuclear industry failed to adequately review, assess, and follow up on relevant operating experience at other nuclear power plants;
·    Davis-Besse failed to ensure that plant safety issues received appropriate attention; and
·    NRC failed to integrate available information in assessing Davis-Besse’s safety performance.

A BAD NRC enforcement example:

At San Onofre by Region IV and the NRC: The papers shown below have been obtained from Public Domain written by Dr. Joram Hopenfeld and a former SONGS Employee based on his investigation of the steam generator issues, review of the plant data and discussions with several Key SONGS Insiders. These papers confirm that Southern California Edison wants to restart unsafe Unit 2 nuclear reactor at 70% power under false pretenses, just for profits, and as an unapproved risky experiment by subverting the NRC and Federal regulatory process.  The true Root Cause (See Note 2) of the unprecedented tube-to-tube wear in Unit 3 has NOT been officially established, as required by NRC Confirmatory Letter Action 1 for restarting the defectively designed and degraded Unit 2.  NRC has not even completed their review of Unit 2 Return to Service Reports, nor have they finished Special Unit 2 Tube Inspections, nor have they (publicly?) reviewed SCE’s Response to NRC’s Requests for Additional Information (RAIs).

An UGLY NRC enforcement example?:

Now, SCE wants the NRC to approve a new shady License Amendment, undermining public safety and they want it done without the involvement of Public Safety Experts, Attorneys and/or Citizens/Ratepayers.  After the review of the Mitsubishi Root Cause Evaluation and the Draft SCE License Amendment, it is crystal clear that the NRC needs to follow the example of their own enforcement at David Besse together with the lessons learned from Fukushima, when it comes to NOT approving this new Shady License Amendment for restarting San Onofre Unit 2’s defectively designed and degraded replacement steam generators.  In light of the unanticipated/unprecedented tube leakage at San Onofre Unit 3, the health and safety, along with the economic concerns/objections of 8.4 million Southern Californians’ MUST OVERRIDE and PREVENT the restarting of Unit 2 at ANY power level.  In a Democratic Society, truth must prevail over profit motivations, misleading propaganda of electricity service disruption and/or projected probabilistic temporary inconveniences to the public based on phony data, because America cannot afford a trillion dollar nuclear eco-disaster!

Our Safety must override SCE's profits and prevent them from restarting Unit 2.


1: Regulatory capture occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.  Regulatory capture is a form of government failure, as it can act as an encouragement for firms to produce negative externalities. The agencies are called "captured agencies".

2. Human performance errors resulting from the negative safety culture of production (profits) goals overriding public safety obligations.

Additional Information:

The full DAB Safety Team's Media Alert 5 Parts:

The complete five (5) part presentation, see the eight (8) titles listed below:

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