stock here: a reader submitted the following. CaptD was directly involved in the process of shutting down San Onofre
A quick background. On a pressurized water reactor PWR, the radioactive water and steam from the reactor vessel never touches the steam turbine. They seperate the clean side from the contaminiated side by use of a "steam generator" which is more direct engineering terms is a freaking large heat exchanger.
If there is a hole anywhere in the steam generator, the contaminated water can escape into the clean side.
At San Onofre, their steam generators were getting old AND they wanted to also do a power uprate. A power uprate is like taking and old car and souping it up with nitrous and a blower for instance, and then running the hell out of it until it blows.
They extorted the local community to get the uprate approved, saying "If regulators did not approve the upgrade, the plant would close, provoking "very serious problems with the California electric grid.""
So they designed new steam generators. They lied to the NRC and the public by stating that it was a "like for like" replacement when it was nothing of the sort, it was a major redesign. And then they screwed up the design big time. The pipes in the steam generator were wearing away 30 times faster than they should, and in less than 1 year, some sprang a leak, after only 1 year many pipes were 90% gone and ready to blow.
Yet the greedy operators insisted it was safe and that all would be fine if they would just run at a little lower output. Basically they knew it wasn't going to last, but just wanted a way to milk the profits for a few more years even though they knew they were putting the people of San Diego and every one downwind (that would be all of us) at risk of nuclear radiation contamination.
Eventually SCE decided to shut down the plant. They did not want to spend ANOTHER $680 M for new steam generators.
Now SCE is trying to extract $5,000 Million dollars from people who will never see a single kWH from the plant. All due to SCE's extortion, then lies, and poor design.
It's an upside down world we live in
PS they got the approval to grab $5 Billion from the ratepayers.
CaptD's comments below
(My Comment is STILL IN MODERATION)
Money aside, since what happened at San Onofre has never happened in the history of the US Nuclear fleet, it is vitally important that the "Root Cause" of the replacement steam generator failures be determined, since without that information many other steam generators may be at risk. Even though the operator (SCE) has begun the decommissioning process they still refuse to release their operational records, saying that the information they submitted to the NRC and others is not correct, since it illustrates that SCE was operating Unit 3 outside its NRC mandated limitations, which put 5 million people at risk of a nuclear incident and/or a nuclear accident. It is imperative that the Root Cause investigation proceed since ending it now only further insulates US Nuclear Operators from public scrutiny at the very time that Nuclear Safety is being called into question.
More background about what ever more people are calling San Onofre Gate*:
1. Gov. Brown (a long time friend of Peevey) has to date taken a hands off role regarding San Onofre, other than appointing Peevey’s replacement (since Peevey chose not to seek "reappointment") who has insured that the CPUC maintains the status quo.
2. Governor Brown’s sister is on the Board of Sempra Energy as are others that are familiar names to many in San Diego. www.sempra.com/about/governance/board-of-directors.shtml
3. Peevey’s wife is also an elected CA State Official.
4. Peevey (who is a graduate from UCB) made giving them $5 million a year for a number of years a key component of his San Onofre Settlement Deal. This money will fund Climate Change Research by UCB. This Research will then be used to justify Utility Energy Production instead of Residential Energy Production, much like Big Milk and/or Big Meat funds Research to then justify the consumption of ever more Milk and Meat in our diets because it has been shown to be healthful in University scientific studies.
5. SDG&E which is owned by Sempra Energy, has done a great job of staying out of the public spotlight regarding San Onofre Gate despite being a 20% Owner of San Onofre. SDG&E had to have knowledge of all Utility settlement discussions before agreeing to any settlement as proposed by the CPUC. Look for Freedom of Information (FOI) requests being filed with SDG&E in order to find out how much they knew, who knew it and when they knew it as San Onofre Gate expands.
6. Senator Boxer received notarized documents regarding replacement steam generators (RSG) Design Problems long before she started asking the NRC pointed questions about the replacement steam generators in Public, despite being the Chair of the US Committee on Environmental and Public Works, which has oversight of the NRC.
7. Since SoCal ratepayers will EACH be liable for more than $1000 per Utility account if the CPUC “settlement” stands, expect the rate paying public to increase its demand for more information, regarding anything that might reduce or better yet transfer that $5 billion dollar debt to the Utility shareholders, which is why San Onofre Gate will continue to grow.
Part of the above was posted before:
This hashtag that will allow you to keep up to date on the ongoing investigation into the $5 to $7.6 Billion ratepayer ripoff by SCE and their regulators the CPUC.