“A quote from my late father who worked at K-25 and Y-12 for 42 years.”
Wow! I worked in both of those places once upon a time.
Someone else pointed out indirectly that it’s not good for nuclear plants to be cycled on and off frequently. Thermal stress on the large metal parts is the reason. Also, it takes a long time to start up a nuclear plant.
It’s peculiar that the oxidation of the fuel rods is unexpected. Fuel rods are regularly replaced. Did they leave fuel roes in the reactor beyond their operational lifetime in order to save money?