This summer may be just a test run for operating Southern California’s electrical grid without a nuclear plant.
The latest report on the outage at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station shows the replacement of four massive steam generators was accompanied by serious design flaws, with no clear solution in sight.
Both stakeholders in San Onofre and critics of nuclear power say the start of a summer without the twin-reactor plant has forced a new accounting for its costs and benefits.
The utility industry and the state’s main grid operator are “considering a range of existing and new alternatives for mitigating the impacts of a long-term or permanent shutdown at San Onofre,” said Stephanie McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the California Independent System Operator.
At full tilt, San Onofre can produce enough electricity to power 1.4 million homes.
Yet the grid operator foresees only the remote chance of rolling outages during hot weather in the next three months — when San Onofre is needed the most.
Keep reading – San Onofre: Do we really need it?
Continue reading San Onofre Nuclear Plant shut down for the summer – does Southern California still need it?
Sen. Barbara Boxer has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a comprehensive review of the radiation leaks at the San Onofre nuclear power plant, to determine how widespread the problems might be.
In a letter, Boxer asked to NRC Chairman Gregory Jackzo to “thoroughly assess” the conditions at San Onofre plant “to determine what further investigation and action is required at this time, and whether similar actions may be needed at other nuclear facilities.”
A staffer at the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee said the senator is concerned that the reported wear and tear on the unit’s piping, which is only two years old, might reflect broader problems at other plants across the country.
via UT San Diego
In an earlier post, I summarized the situation to-date:
There is also discussion that the Nuclear Commission is suffering from regulatory capture, which means that they are afraid to report any leaks.
This has led to a large amount of confusion in the public and so it’s great that San Clemente citizens are getting involved:
Residents worried about leaks from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station asked San Clemente’s elected leaders Tuesday night to have sensors installed around town to monitor radiation levels.
“We believe with recent events at the San Onofre Waste-Generating Station that it is necessary for the citizens’ safety and well-being to have a monitoring system,” San Clemente resident Gene Stone told the City Council.
Stone said an independent monitoring system would provide radiation readings so residents could tell how safe the atmosphere was at any given time. He also called for a study to identify cancer and leukemia risks in San Clemente, which is just over two miles up the coast from the nuclear plant’s two reactors.
“Edison may know what the radiation levels are, but they’ve told me that they won’t share those with the public,” San Clemente resident Donna Gilmore told the City Council. “I could go to the library and look at last year’s figures. Well, that’s not going to do me any good.”
Read the response from the Nuclear Company (Edison) and the City Council at OC Register
Today the largest truck ever to travel in California transports a nuclear steam generator weighing 750,000 pounds to Utah. The 50 foot long turbine is classified as nuclear waste and is travelling on a truck with 192 tires to a nuclear waste dump in Utah.
The story of the journey is fascinating. A large police escort follows it the whole way. The truck can only travel 15 mph and is so long it can barely turn relying on six robotic pivot points every time. It has one powerful deisel pulling it and two trucks pushing it.
I’m inclined to try to find this truck and bear witness to the behemot (pic), but it’s travelling at night and hoping to avoid the public.
I just love it, there are so many different action adventures movies waiting to be written about it.
To learn more read the OC Register article: Giant nuclear parts: stealth ride to Utah.
The journey starts here in Orange County at my local nuclear power plant in San Onofre, where four new generators were recently installed. The plant is capable of producing 2,200 megawatts and powereing 1.6 million homes.
I’m quite certain that we get our power from a nuclear source which raises some concern for me. Not only do we live in earthquake territory with a nuclear reactor not that far away, but we also sit in a tsunami zone. I definitely need to do some research to see ow safe we are and what to do in the event of emergency.