Final report issued on San Onofre Nuclear Plant – Edison not to blame, it was a Mitsubishi computer glitch

The final review of the radiation leak at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations (SONGS) has been completed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Among its findings are that Southern California Edison (SCE) responded appropriately to the issue, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a company based in Japan, is to blame. They found that Mitsubishi’s “faulty computer modeling” resulted in mismatched components that, after only a year, had worn down significantly.

The good news is that we caught this issue before a catastrophic problem occurred, hinting that the safety protocols from SCE were adequate. The bad news is that we were one computer glitch away from a national disaster.

The outcome of all this is uncertain. You can bet that SCE would like to restart SONGS to start making money again, and they can do so by completing the checklist in the NRC report. They have said publicly this will not be until at least September, probably longer, meanwhile the public is digesting this news and preparing a public hearing from the NRC.

Many are speculating that since the plant was not needed during the heavy-use summer days, maybe it is not needed at all. But, that ignores the fact that other power plants were operating above capacity to compensate. Either way something will need to change, whether it’s an acceptance of the restart of SONGS, a new plan to make normal the over-operation of natural gas plants, or some blended model that takes into account the renewable energy sources coming online in the next few years.

 

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NRC:

 

Continue reading Final report issued on San Onofre Nuclear Plant – Edison not to blame, it was a Mitsubishi computer glitch

Japan launches its own private space company – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

The space wars are heating up. As it stands right now, the Russians have the biggest for-hire space program, but their fleet is aging. The new players on the market, like Space X, are competing for the future of that market.

Which will look something like this. Every country rich enough to afford it, and big companies, will be sending probes, satellites, and people into space. They will pay a private company to do so and eventually the market will be the opposite of what it is now, where governments dominate and private industry supports.

Here is an example of that:

A Japanese rocket has lifted off with a South Korean satellite in Japan’s first commercial launch of a foreign probe into space.

The HII-A rocket lifted off from a remote southwestern Japan island carrying the South Korean probe and three Japanese satellites.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a private company in charge of HII-A rocket production since 2007, is hoping to compete with the U.S., Russia and Europe as a launch-vehicle provider. This was its first contract to launch a foreign probe.

The Korean satellite, KOMPSAT-3, was developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute to monitor the environment. The rocket also carried Japan’s Shizuku satellite to monitor climate change and two smaller Japanese probes.

via UT San Diego

HII-A Launch Vehicle