In projections for state power regulators, Southern California Edison recently suggested reactors at the San Onofre nuclear plant could be back in service in November and December.Units 2 and 3 have been offline since premature tube wear was found in their recently replaced steam generators several months ago. The Associated Press reported it obtained documents from a briefing to California's Public Utilities Commission July 23, when SCE made the estimates for power managers' planning purposes. The restart dates of Nov. 18 for unit 2 and Dec. 31 for unit 3 are tentative estimates.Any formal request to restart the reactors will have to be made to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. SCE officials have suggested previously that the units could run safely at reduced power to avoid the vibration blamed for the tube wear.In one of many reports to the NRC since the problem's discovery, the utility said it has plugged 807 thinning tubes in unit 3 and 510 tubes in unit 2. With few exceptions the wear was determined to have been caused by anti-vibration wear, tube support plate wear or tube-to-tube wear, which the NRC blamed on faulty modeling by steam generator manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
UPDATE: Since this post was written, Edison earnings released Tuesday night have provided more details on the status of the reactors. Among them:
-- Executives reiterated that projections filed with state regulators are tentative, and the company does not have a formal timeline for restarting the units.
-- Edison's share of pretax costs for steam generator inspections and repairs in Q1 and Q2 total $48 million. Replacement power costs have totaled $117 million.
-- With less wear, unit 2 could restart at reduced power months ahead of unit 3.
-- It is unclear whether unit 3 will be able to restart without major repairs, possibly including steam generator replacement.
-- It is unclear whether steam generator replacements will be required for full-power operation at either unit.
-- While suggesting earlier that it would be done by the end of July, executives said they have no schedule for NRC confirmatory action letter submittal.
Nuclear Street News Team
Tubes...tubes!! This is old tech style. And what's wrong with BWR's. What's need are condensers core designs for efficiency.
While the NRC could approve a restart, it will be at shareholder expense. Any estimates are just wishful thinking by the utility and the industry. www.a4nr.org