Who is to blame for the retiring of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) ??

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11 Replies

  • I think the MHI steam generators are the ultimate reason they have to shut down the plant but if the NRC response was more timely, that would probably prevent this decision. There needs to be a "elevated level" for the NRC response when it comes to making these decisions that impacts the power supply.  In other words, if the NRC is reviewing an application for an uprate for one plant, the down plant (SONGS) issues should have priority for the NRC resources.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Nworker:

    Clearly the blame goes to MHI.  Blaming the regulator is like blaming to doctor because you died from cancer.  There are some screw up so great that even your industry and governmental partners are unable to save your ass.  Anyone blaming this on the NRC is intellectually dishonest.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Anonymous:

    you analogy is far from correct. The NRC gave the site specific items to complete to allow them to restart and operate one unit at 70% then after the company spent millions to meet every last item the NRC pulled the rug out and changed their mind.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Anonymous:

    Does anyone think that Japan is intentionally trying to submarine the U.S Nuclear Industry? I am of course kidding but our  Asian friends who  have heavily relied on nuclear in the past are "killing us" nonetheless.I suppose it really is a product of our short sighted country (U.S.) since we have to rely on foreign suppliers for such things as steam generators and reactor heads instead of fabricating them domestically.I expect it should not suprise  most Californians that the folks at Apple decided on Texas as the site for a new iPhone plant.I would not at all be suprised if other Silicon Valley industries migrate East as well due to security of electrical supply.Whenever the subsidies stop for solar and the gas companies see an opening for price increases,people will wish they had the cement domed workhorses that have served our country so well for so many years.The old adage,"you don't know what you've got until it's gone " will eventually  ring true.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    1. SCE selected steam generators (SGs) from MHI as low bidder

    2. SCE told MHI to change the SG design from original SGs

    3. SCE told NRC the new SG design is like for like

    4. MHI designed and built lousy SGs

    5. SCE contracted to remove old SGs and to install these lousy SGs into the plant

    6. The lousy SGs started wearing out after only one year

    7. One of the SGs developed a leak and the had to shutdown

    8. SCE and worldwide consults came up with only two solutions - replace these SGs or operate the plant at reduced power with the hope that the wearing will stop.

     9. SCE wanted to go with reduced power operation for one reactor but NRC regulations would not allow this experiment without a formal licensing amendment.

    10. SCE decided that the formal license amendment process was too long and made the business decision for permanent shutdown of the reactors.

    Root cause of problem is not politics or NRC. Root cause is SCE wanted more steam generator tubes and deviated from the original CE design. SCE should have stayed with the original CE design which lasted more than 30 years. SCE only had another 20 years to operate the reactors.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Anonymous:

    This is a false statement. The NRC was on the verge of approving the restart plan at San Onofre. The final straw was the findings of the ASLB. The appeals process would have taken the start out to probably 2015, at best. The cost of replacement power and the cost of keeping the unit restart-ready would have gone past the tipping point of being economically prudent.

    To answer the original question of who is ultimately responsible, I believe MHI should be left holding the bag, and should pay full restitution to Southern California, to San Onofre, and to the SCE and SDG&E rate payers. The design of the steam generators was altered by MHI after the Unit 2 SGs were built, and the result was the accelerated wear of the Unit 3 SGs. The copious inspections of the Unit 2 SGs found wear that is not out  of line with anyone's new SGs. Who would have thought that part of the problem would be that the Unit 3 SGs were too efficient? It was discovered that the moisture content of the steam was so low near the top of the tube bundle that it created vibration and wear patterns that were not foreseen by MHI's computer modelling.

    Now, I know that using actual facts tends to put activists into a tizzy, not unlike religious zealots, but I thought that it would be important to the conversation to at least have one sane, unemotional voice.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Anonymous:

    Interesting point of view, however simplistic and incorrect.  It has previously been pointed out that there is no "like for like" language in the license or the contract.  The original CE design used an alloy that degraded more quickly than planned, as has been experienced throughout the industry.  A more robust alloy that is now the standard in the industry was used in the new SGs.  The new alloy has lower heat transferrance characteristics, so more tubes were added to compensate.  As has been stated and published many times, a faulty computer model failed to reveal the potential for fluid elastic instability, resulting in unexpected vibration modes.  The NRC, as stated below, was ready to approve restart, and had already issued a preliminary opinion of "no significant hazards."   The Atomic licensing board, an advisory committee, exceeded its authority by issuing a public statement that the confirmatory action letter issued in 2012 was a defacto license amendment.  The NRC was under no obligation to agree or be influenced by this opinion.  Behind-the-scenes pressure was brought to bear opon the NRC to not contradict the licensing board, and so the timetable for approval suddenly became indeterminate, stretching into 2014.  At $40M a month in costs, SCE could no longer justify the expense to its stockholders.  So now the ratepayers will bear the costs of purchasing power from outside of California.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Anonymous:

    MHI fabricated faulty equipment due to poor modeling, The goverment failed to act in a timely fashion, B. Boxer stired the pot and the Plant is history. Our nuclear industry suffers again. Why do we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again? I love the smell of coal burning in the morning!

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Anonymous:

    The 'Green' anti-nuclear faction, that serves the irrational elitist economic and population contraction policy, is a very strong minority, entrenched in key government positions, making policy, able and expert at communicating their concerns effectively; while a noticeable lack of information defending nuclear energy is tolerated. The war against nuclear power is the war against humanity, the rigged forums must be identified and confronted , the US citizenry must undergo new education, the MSM must serve the nation, or this United States will continue in its ongoing, and ignored accelerating national economy collapse.  

    Brigades of organized scientists, chemists, and engineers, must be drop everything, alarming the nation, like Paul Revere and the farmer militia, that the US Energy policy is going in the wrong direction; the existing economy collapse should inform. As the national energy flux density capacity decreases, the economy goes into decline. Right now,  as existing energy facilities are set for retirement within this decade, new replacement energy generation facilities are not being scheduled for development, let alone construction to go on grid. This is the National Security Crisis.

    Now we must communicate the solution: A new national nuclear fueled energy grid has to be designed, constructed and installed. Fusion technology and reactors with all its benefits, unlimited energy, the power to elevate humanity's existence beyond our present imagination and comprehension, would be the optimum solution, as the new energy platform. However as a matter of responding to the immediate crisis, the Integral Fast Reactor technology that uses nuclear 'waste' as fuel will be employed in the Small Modular Reactors. This technology and the strategic deployment of its 'Fast' small reactors (SMR's), extracting oxygen and hydrogen, from the water splitting, chemical reaction, of Seawater, making the Hydrogen Economy possible, can set the economy on the right trajectory.

    The priorities of the nation have been perverted. Obedience to the Wall St cabal/ Fed's, unlimited bailout system, fueling savage budget cuts, an Austerity Policy at home and Perpetual War that now morphs into the thermonuclear WWIII, must be confronted and terminated. The stabilization of the United States is the only imperative the only power on Earth that can save humanity.

    NuclearStreet will serve scientists, chemists and engineers, as a great hub of organizing, education, information resource sharing, ultimately creating the new national nuclear energy policy, etc. that can defend the United States and protect the population.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I am enamored of your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. (smile)
    + molten salt design and prototyping, at least in parity with Chinese efforts.
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