Skip to comments.Feds: Calif. nuke plant to remain shut for probe
Posted on 03/27/2012 10:15:47 PM PDT by Razzz42
The troubled San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California will remain shut down while investigators try to solve a mystery inside its massive generators _ the rapid decay of tubing that carries radioactive water, federal regulators said Tuesday.
The announcement that formalized an agreement with operator Southern California Edison came on the same day that a report commissioned by an environmental group claimed the utility misled the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about design changes that are the likely culprit in excessive tube wear.
A four-page letter to Edison from NRC Regional Administrator Elmo E. Collins laid out a series of steps the company must take before restarting the seaside reactors located 45 miles north of San Diego, underscoring the concern over the unusual degradation in the tubes.
Elmo wrote that the problems in the generators must be resolved and fixed and "until we are satisfied that has been done, the plant will not be permitted to restart."
(Excerpt) Read more at democratherald.com ...
chemistry will provide the answer. teflon coat everything.
I wonder where the steam generators were built. Since Westinghouse closed the Pensacola plant, I think steam generators are sourced from overseas. My guess is they’ve been finding leaks and plugging tubes at a rate that is unusual.
By now the utility should know to monitor and maintain the correct water chemistry.
Should they close the plant the answer is no. The plant provides 2000 megawatts of energy. You will have to find a generating facility to fill that gap. During the Great San Diego blackout, San Onofre was instermental at restoring power quickly to those customers in Orange County and Northern San Diego county.
The answer to the question is the lowest bidder, probably using sub grade pipe.
The short answer is: “The steam generators were manufactured by Japan-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, according to company officials.”
The NRC makes sure that their contractors follow the regulations to the letter.
If the water chemistry isn’t an issue, someone needs to examine all of the mill certs associated with the tubing and investigate all of the manufacturing processes involved.
It takes two or three days to restart a fully functioning nuke plant.
Most of San Diego’s power already comes from outside the county borders, some even from Mexico.
If you read the article, power companies are looking to restart mothballed power plants to makeup the difference in San Onofre’s plant.
8.5 million people live in about a 50 mile radius of the quake prone plant area. I wouldn’t miss the plant for a second if the put a ‘Closed’ sign on it.
I do not think that their courrupt. If they were corrupt, you would probably see more problems at nuclear plants around the country. The big problem is security.At San Onofre, that is not a big problem because Camp Pendleton is several miles away. The big problem is the reactor faces the sea. Other reactors, you do need the security because they do store the waste on site.
My brother used to live within eyeshot of the reactor. The residents really do not care. Having the reactor on line provide businesses to thrive in the area.Many of the workers live in the area and the economy is not hurting in that area.
1.5 million people in the Northern San Diego and Southern Orange Country depends on the power from San Onofre
Facts on San Onofre
It sounds like cavitation caused the removal of lots of material.
They would, but Obama has the worlds supply of Teflon wrapped up. Most of it stored in the NY Times Building and Rockefeller Center.
Yep... Sacrificial zincs, salt water, electricity etc...
An era of counterfeit parts should also be looked at ...
I believe everything should be looked at. I have complete faith in out nuclear infrastructure both military and civilian.
Good-good Chinese pipes?
Remaining Units are both shut down right now since one had a radioactive leak and the other was in maintenance/refueling and discovered to suffer from the same conditions as the leaking unit that was abruptly shut down. Both are undergoing inspections for a fix, if there is a cost effective fix.
Won’t be long and all the partners will be begging for money to cover the expense of shutting down the entire plant permanently. They are pressing their luck trying to extend the life of the plant.
Storage of spent fuel will be kept on site for a hundred years, hopefully no earthquakes disturb it.
I doubt that salt water is circulating in the loop between the turbine and steam generator. That’s an interesting idea. I wonder about the integrity of the tubes in the condenser. From the images, the plant doesn’t have cooling towers so sea water is probably used to condense the steam exhausted from the turbine.
Instrumentation should have spotted the change in water chemistry from salt.
The ignorance on this thread is incredible.
1. SONGS-2 and SONGS-3 have different issues. Review the NRC website for details.
2. MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) is paying for all repairs / engineering / mitigation. The steam generators are well within their warranty period. If replacement steam generators are called for, MHI will pay for them. This won’t cost rate payers a cent.
Have you been reading over at DU?
SONGS and nuclear in general is a necessity.
Learn how to comprehend what you are reading, you’re embarrassing...
Tests on massive steam generators at the troubled Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which was shut down as a precaution after the leak on Jan. 31, revealed seven alloy tubes that carry radioactive water are in danger of rupturing under high pressure. Traces of radiation escaped during the January leak, but officials said there was no danger to workers or neighbors.
Unusual wear has been found on hundreds of similar tubes that carry radioactive water at its twin, Unit 2, which was shut down earlier this year for routine maintenance, leaving questions about the integrity of equipment the company installed at the two reactors in a multimillion-dollar makeover in 2009 and 2010.
A special team of federal investigators was dispatched to the seaside site, about 45 miles north of San Diego, on Thursday to focus on Unit 3. While gradual tube wear is common in steam generators over time, no one knows why so many state-of-the-art tubes in relatively new equipment have degraded so quickly.
There are nearly 20,000 steam generator tubes in each of the two reactors. After tests, the company said a total of 321 tubes will be plugged and taken out of service at the two reactors, well within the margin to allow them to continue to operate...
Did that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries contract include covering the costs of downtime and paying for backup power generation during repairs?
A guarantee like this could bankrupt a company. Looks like GE sold off parts of their nuke industry and got out when they saw the writing on the wall.
I’ve been reading where there is no where to store nuclear waste except onsite where nuclear plants create its own wastes. Along with existing older nuclear plants applying for extended operating permits because creating more waste is cheaper than storing expenses of existing nuclear wastes when subsidized by taxpayers.
Japan used the same arguments of rolling brown outs and higher ratepayer fees if their nuclear power plants had to shut down due to the Great Earthquake and tsunami ramifications. Now all but one of about 52 nuke plants are shut down there, soon to be zero because they can’t pass newer stress tests parameters.
In the meantime, Fukushima still has (3) unconstrained melted cores polluting the environment with nuclear fallout...at least Chernobyl’s meltdown was temporarily capped with concrete.
Germany elects to shut down their nuclear program while the US approves another nuke plant, go figure.
It was 8 tubes at Unit 3, not 7.
They are not “in danger of rupturing”, they ruptured during a deliberate in situ pressure test, after the plant was taken out of service, and the tubes have been taken out of service.
Unit 2 will return to service. It was not “unusual wear”, rather it was expected wear that ocurred unusually early in the life of the steam generator. The wear at Unit 2 is well understood.
No, MHI’s warranty does not cover replacement power.
I’m getting my information from SONGS plant personnel. You’re getting yours from a news release. Just who is embarrassing?
You said,”Ive been reading where there is no where to store nuclear waste except onsite where nuclear plants create its own wastes.”
There IS a place, that has been tied up by the enviro-weenies. It is called Yucca Mountain and would be a GREAT storage facility.
ADDITIONALLY, we have stopped the reprocessing of waste to retrieve the 70% still usable U-238 from spent fuel. Again the greenies (via Carter) shot that down.
They are trying to KILL all methods of energy production in theis country. You seem to have swallowed a big gulpp of that Kool-aid.
Japan has been the site of a couple nuclear ‘incidents’. Yet there is a large population there, that today does not evince drastic changes in health. Flame me for that if you wish. ALL technologies have risk. One must balance the benefits.
Germany also has 6 or 7 dollar gas, wanna join them in that too?
You are missing the point, nuclear power is a pipe dream and not cost effective. Boil water for 30 years using nuclear reactions and then spend hundreds of years storing radioactive waste byproducts.
Only governments (taxpayers) can afford to fund nuclear plants. Left to private enterprise, no nuclear plants would be built.
Natural gas is in abundance here in the US. Good for fueling turbines to piston engines.
I’d be all in favor of nuclear power generation if it were safe but it being safe is just not true.
There are nuclear dump sites all over the US that are just disasters when it comes to cleanup.
Euroland fixes fuel prices to discourage use. If the US current administration is trying to follow this scheme, I hope it fails.
Hiding behind that nuclear fallout (esp. cumulatively) can’t be proven to cause cancers and such, is a piss poor way to back an argument.
I was just considering the possibility of “improvements” that may have been made that may possibly be promoting such via bonding or lightning protection without sacrificals. I’ve seen such destroy fire risers, underground water lines an structural materials when said improvements weren’t a coordinated effort etc...
Stay safe ! Hope yer well...
Enjoy your energy-free future, enjoy the kool-aid.
I’ve worked within nuclear power most of my life, understand its “do’s and dont’ts”.
Ignorant fear ALWAYS amazes me.
Nuclear power, as with any technology, evolves and improves. The plants we could build today are much more inherently safe. But no, greenies and kool-aid drinkers hold them up. Which then REQUIRES the older, less inherently safe plants to have their lives extended.
Nuclear dumps all over the US? Dumps? Care to name just a few?
Every nuclear plant is a dump site but here are few example since you don’t follow your own industry...
I’m glad you are making a living off of a taxpayer Federally mandated program but that will effect future generations when you are not around anymore to tout how wonderful nuke generation is.
The longes the reactor is off online, the power company loses money. They will be working dilligently to get it on-line as soon as possible.
Your use of the word ‘Dump Site’ shows naught but ignorance.
Every nuclear plant is NOT a ‘dump site’, not even close. You’ve never been to one, never worked inone, yet you feel you can opine from some position of ‘knowledge’. Fail.
Hanford is NOT a nuclear plant., It IS a Gov’t run (problematical issues there) research site. Are areas/facilities there needing clean up? Yep. Such is true of almost every Gov’t site, as the ‘rules’ don’t apply there.
That has not much to do with commercial nuclear power, nor the way it is run.
Whether or not that industry, is ‘subsidized’ is not germaine to the arguement. Do you eat food? Farming is subsidized, I am so glad you eat from a Federally subsidized program. You may step down from that soap box.
The effects on future generations would be less, as I pointed out, IF the industry had not been knee capped at every opportunity by those opposed to it (such as yourself).
Reprocessing would be recycling of still usable uranium. A long term repository (Yucca) would be a solution to the current issue of storing fuel in dry casks at each plant.