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Saturday, August 1, 2015

San Onofre Gate (by CaptD)

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


This is a major coverup by the NRC to not only hide its own mistakes but also the $5 Billion Debacle caused by SCE when they tried to use their in-house Engineers to design the replacement steam generators at San Onofre. That would be bad enough, but now what is knows as #SanOnofreGate * has expanded to include secret behind the scenes Ex parte meetings between SCE and the very Regulators and Judges charged with this investigation. 

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*:


Extra Info:

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.

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.


  1. The full hashtag is

  2. Blow it out your ass CaptD San Oncogene did nothing but produce clean carbon free electricity for decades. Having witnessed it first hand from all three co Tyrol rooms I can attest your missive is grounds for throwing the bullshit flag. The workers there were very dedicated to safety. You probably parked yourVW microbes down the street and yelled from the cheap seats. Now that the plant has closed you continue to squawk. There is no pleasing you haters. You reap what you sow. So get over it buddy. The plant may be closed but the material will stay there until politicians realize there are viable technical solutions. These solutions I have had a hand in and are demonstrated. You just keep on believing the opposite while I continue in my work. Ill be retired soon having enjoyed working in this field. All for the betterment of man. What have you done productively? Oh I guess waiting on people at restaurants and washing cars is allowed. Someone has to do those jobs too.

    1. So that's your argument? Dirty hippies in VW's protesting?

      You probably had a part in that "like for like" debacle that resulted in radiation release.

    2. Loose Nuke - (Finally you are using a name that fits) Read the technical papers written by Nuclear Safety Engineers that have (had) actual worked at SanO when the RSG were installed, (you only know about the old CE SG, and if you can't understand FEI, then ask some of your co-Workers or maybe even the ASLB folks that told the NRC that a restart was a N☢ GO.

      BTW: You were nowhere near SanO when the ☢ leak occurred so you are just trying to down play what happened. That's OK because others with better engineering credentials have already peer reviewed the info we submitted to the ASLB/NRC and now the ASLB is spending million getting FEI studies done on the QT...

      Then perhaps you can enjoy playing with your current dawg instead of posting ever more Nuclear Baloney* (NB) and say hi to A4P1 if you change hats!

  3. SCE Caused A Nuclear Near-Miss At San Onofre - Aug 7, 2015 - 2:11 PM

    The San Onofre Replacement Steam Generator (RSG) Project was designed by a team of both MHI and SCE engineers with SCE having the final say and it was their licensed CA Engineers that put their "chop" on them, which means that SCE "designed" them, the rest is finger pointing. In fact SCE told MHI that everything about the project was to be approved by them first and that HMI was not to talk to anybody including the NRC without getting the OK from SCE.

    This was done in order to get the RSG's built quickly without a full NRC 50.90 review which would have included a public review process.. By using the NRC 50.59 process (aka Like-For-Like) SCE told the NRC and everyone else that it was going to be an identical exchange, so no technical reviews were required. We now know this was false and can even point out a nuclear industry trade article where SCE's engineer and a MHI engineer bragged about all the changes they made, anyone of which should have required a full 50.90 review. NRC Region IV that OK'd this 50.59 replacement got all kinds of egg on their face and it pointed out that their NRC inspectors were too cozy with SCE, since the RSG failed soon after being installed, thanks to both their faulty unproven design and also how they were being operated by SCE!

    Improving like-for-like RSGs

    The operation of these RSG's outside their NRC approved specifications will be THE KEY issue that will convince everyone that their failure is completely SCE fault (since ratepayers had nothing to do with their operation) and everyone knows what operating "over the red line means"!

    Another reason why SCE must turn over their operational records is that the data will prove that SCE's operators were "experimenting" by adjusting the operational parameters in an attempt to figure out how to get the RSG to work without them causing internal "noises". In fact the 9,747 steam generator tubes tightly packed inside each of the RSG were striking each other and/or their supports as the tubes vibrated, causing "tube wear". This was very dangerous because if one or more tubes failed the high pressure radioactive reactor core coolant inside them would "flash" to steam and escape into the atmosphere! The NRC still assumes that not more than a single tube can fail at a time, which San Onofre proved is an invalid assumption since after the entire RSG system was shut down, a number of tubes failed in situ (in-place) testing. Until the "root cause" of San Onofre is determined other US steam generator may also be at risk, since a "cascade" of tube failures could easily vent so much of the reactor coolant, so fast from the reactor core, that it could cause a meltdown of the reactor!

    Having followed this closely since 01/31/12, I can say that we were very, very lucky to not have had a nuclear incident and/or even a nuclear accident at San Onofre despite all the "feel good" talk from SCE. If the "leak" had occurred during a large earthquake along with some other things, while both Unit 2 and Unit 3 were online, we could have had a SoCal Fukushima, which would have easily exceeded the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster Japan is now dealing with!

    Parts of the above posted:


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