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Hundreds Attend Public Forum On San Onofre’s Future

Evening Edition

Above: KPBS reporter Alison St John gives an update on the NRC hearing over San Onofre.

Aired 10/10/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST:

Alison St John, Senior Metro Reporter, KPBS

Transcript

Aired 10/10/12 on KPBS News.

Questions about evacuation plans, whether it was a gamble to restart the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station and more technical queries were posed tonight at a public meeting held by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Dana Point.

Questions about evacuation plans, whether it was a gamble to restart the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station and more technical queries were posed Tuesday night at a public meeting held by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Dana Point.

Many of those who attended were plant employees, who cheered loudly when overseers stressed the importance of safety and jeered some more skeptical residents.

A group of experts, residents and government officials served on a panel that fielded the questions.

"Whether you believe it or not, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not promote ... or oppose'' nuclear energy, the commission is just concerned with the plant's safety, said Elmo Collins, the commission's regional administrator.

Grace Van Thillo, a San Clemente resident, who was on the panel, said she opposes Edison's plan to restart the generators.

"We demand a full, transparent, adjudicatory hearing,'' that would function like a court trial and would consider the plan to restart the plant, Thillo said.

Several San Diego residents were on the panel and in the audience, including Don Mosier, a Del Mar city councilman who works at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla.

Hundreds of Edison's employees in red, white and blue union tee-shirts filled many of the seats at the NRC meeting, concerned about their jobs if the plant stays shut down.
Enlarge this image

Above: Hundreds of Edison's employees in red, white and blue union tee-shirts filled many of the seats at the NRC meeting, concerned about their jobs if the plant stays shut down.

"Frankly, many of our citizens have lost faith in the NRC and southern California Edison," Mosier said, " because of past failures including the installation of the steam generators without a license amendment. "

Mosier also believes an independent review of the steam generator problems and the restart plan is needed.

"I think from a safety point of view we haven't fully learned the lessons of Fukushima," he said, "and one of the lessons I have learned is don’t trust the experts until you see the data."

Another panelist, Rochelle Becker of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, said Edison should not be allowed to pass on the costs of fixing the plant to rate payers.

"We are the rate payers of California and we are tired of paying for Edison's mistakes,'' Becker said.

Mission Viejo Councilman Dave Leckness and Laguna Niguel Mayor Paul Glaab, who is also the chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority, praised Edison.

"We're all concerned with safety, that's pretty obvious, but we should also have confidence in the NRC and Edison,'' Leckness said. "They have a good track record in our city.''

Leckness said he toured the plant last year when he was mayor.

"I've seen the safety up close and I was very impressed,'' he said.

Collins told reporters Monday that the agency "has several months of work ahead of it before any decision can be made'' on reopening the power plant in northern San Diego County, south of San Clemente in Orange County.

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will not grant approval for the resumption of power operation unless we have confidence that the facility can be operated safely,'' Collins said.

San Diego residents speak out at protest outside the NRC public meeting on San Onofre Oct 2012:
Del Mar city councilman Don Mosier, Ray Lutz of the Citizens Oversight Project, and Ace Hoffman of the DAB Safety team
Enlarge this image

Above: San Diego residents speak out at protest outside the NRC public meeting on San Onofre Oct 2012: Del Mar city councilman Don Mosier, Ray Lutz of the Citizens Oversight Project, and Ace Hoffman of the DAB Safety team

Southern California Edison, which runs the Northern San Diego County plant and co-owns it with San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside, submitted a plan to the commission last week, proposing to restart one of its two power generators at 70 percent power for a trial period of five months, followed by more inspections. The plant then would be shut down again for more inspections.

Edison has no immediate plans to restart its other generator, saying it needs further inspection, analysis and testing.

Called Unit 2 and Unit 3, the plant's power generators were deactivated in January. Unit 2 was taken offline Jan. 9 for planned maintenance, while Unit 3 was abruptly shut down Jan. 31 after a leak was detected in one of its steam generator tubes.

A small amount of radioactive gas was released but the leak was not significant enough to endanger workers or the public, according to Edison.

The leak in Unit 3 was caused by tube-to-tube wear due to a phenomenon called "fluid elastic instability,'' Edison reported months after the plant closure. The utility said a combination of high-steam velocity and low-moisture conditions in specific locations of tube bundles and ineffective tube support systems in the same bundle locations causes the phenomenon and subsequent wear, leading to leaks.

Unit 2 was also susceptible to the same vibration-causing environment but to a lesser degree than Unit 3, SCE executives said, noting Unit 2 can be safely restarted at 70 percent power without triggering fluid elastic instability. Some critics contest the assertion, saying the designs of the units are essentially the same.

Edison's restart plan also envisions installing early warning monitors on the unit that can detect extremely small leaks faster and plant employees receiving additional training on how to respond to a leak.

"We have full confidence in our restart plan,'' said Jennifer Manfre of Edison, who added the utility has no control over how long it will take for the commission to make a decision on reopening the plant.

Tonight's meeting in Dana Point also included, San Onofre Chief Nuclear Officer Pete Dietrich, Robert Oglesby and Ed Randolph of the California Public Utilities Commission, as well as several area residents and nuclear energy activists.

Twenty percent of the power produced at San Onofre went to SDG&E prior to the plant being shuttered. The impact of the lack of service over the summer was compensated for by the recent opening of the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, which transmits solar and wind energy from Imperial Valley to San Diego.

Officials with SDG&E said the new line provides twice as much energy as the utility previously received from San Onofre.

Alison St John and Monaliza Noor contributed to this report.

Comments

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:17 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Want some truth about CA's San Onofre's ☢ Reactors?

The San Onofre Papers:
https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0BweZ3c0aFXcFZGpvRlo4aXJCT2s/edit

The more you know, the less you'll GLOW!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:28 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Something not mentioned at the meeting are the health implication of living near San Onofre:

CHILD CANCER DEATHS SOAR IN ORANGE COUNTY

In the most recent decade (1999-2009), the Orange County cancer death rate among children age 0-19 was 28% greater than the U.S. rate. This compares to just a 1% excess for the 30 years prior. A total of 312 Orange County children died from cancer in 1999-2009. The high rate in Orange County is statistically significant. While many factors can contribute to child cancer risk, radioactivity released into the environment from the aging San Onofre nuclear reactors should be considered as one potential cause.

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Wonder. http://wonder.cdc.gov/mortSQL.html

NOTE: Any attempt by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's to conduct a study of cancer near nuclear plants represents a serious conflict of interest. For decades, the NRC ignored the health issue of cancer near nuclear plants in its decisions to grant new reactor licenses and extend existing ones, but it has consistently maintained that the relatively low levels of radioactivity emitted from reactors fall below federally-set limits, and are not harmful to the public. Thus, the NRC has demonstrated consistent bias on the health/cancer issue, and any study it commissions and manages will also be biased. Such a study can only be conducted by truly independent experts on this topic that have no connection/relationship to the NRC or the US Government.

I heard that The DAB Safety Team is now working on getting the required funding to get this study done by an independent expert ASAP and hopefully it will be completed before any further Restart discussions take place!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Major points against SanO remaining in operation:

1. It is sited on Major Fault lines + the new NRC Director is a trained Geologist that knows faults.

2. SCE sneaked the RSG phony design past the NRC review process!

3. SCE/SanO has the worst operated reactor in the Country.

4. SCE has a long history of major Safety violations that is the worst in the USA.

5. SanO almost had a major nuclear accident because of SCE's "in-house" bad tube design.

6. Decommissioning SanO would instantly solve all the NRC SanO oversight issues.

7. The NRC knows that if they stop SanO from restarting, the Industry will get the message, to tighten up their operations.

8. It will make the NRC look great without making them look like they caved into the activists.

9. Restarting even under 70% power has MAJOR RISKS, as the DAB Safety Team has already pointed out, so why take ANY chances?

As I see it, the NRC would much rather have all its SanO problems get Decommissioned and we can help by telling them N☢ SCE RESTARTS

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:31 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

The total tube damage at SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) to date:

1. On Unit 3 steam generators (SG):
8.5% of the tubes (1657 out of 19454 tubes on both SGs) showed
wear of greater than 10% through-wall indications.
8 tubes failed in-situ pressure testing
SCE completed extensive plugging and selective staking of 807
tubes and found 10,284 wear indications on 1806 tubes.

2. On Unit 2 steam generators (SG):
5.2 % of the tubes (1009 out of 19454 tubes on both SGs) showed
wear greater than 10% through-wall indication.
The total plugging for Unit 2 was 510 (205 tubes in 2E088 and 305 in
2E089) plus they found 4721 wear indications on 1,595 tubes.

Now San Onofre has MORE tubes that are plugged and or damaged than ALL the rest of the entire US "Nuclear fleet" of reactors put together!

That is how bad these SCE designed San Onofre's Replacement Steam Generators (RSG's) are and one of the main reasons they should never be allowed to restart them for any reason! Once started (at any power setting), they are a nuclear accident waiting to happen!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:32 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

MHI has built more than 100 Steam Generators (SG) since 1970. Only Japan’s Mihama Unit 2 SG built by MHI had one tube rupture due to a displaced Anti Vibration Bar and that one tube caused an IAEA Level 3 Nuclear accident!

Two Important Technical Questions That Need to Be Answered ASAP*:

1. Why did the SONGS Replacement Steam Generators suffer so much degradation so soon, as compared to all these other SG’s?

2. If NRC Region IV Staff thinks MHI made mistakes in the design and fabrication of SONGS RSGs as a Appendix B qualified supplier, then why would the NRC even consider licensing MHI APWR plants in USA; since MHI has been recognized by NEI as a Nuclear Power Plant Design Manufacturer and the NRC is now in the process of licensing MHI's 1700 MW APWR in USA?

*The DAB Safety Team believes it is primarily the fault of SCE’s Design and Performance Specifications coupled with all the numerous design changes that were different from what they told the NRC they were doing. These changes were not correctly identified by MHI’s Fabrication and Testing Technology or their Thermal-Hydraulic Computer Codes, which was found to be faulty. If SCE had gone through a complete NRC Licensing Amendment Process, as required by replacement SG’s that are not “like for like” replacements, which these certainly were NOT, this engineering debacle probably never would have happened.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:34 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

So the question becomes why take any chance of a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima just so the SCE shareholders can make a profit?

SCE's engineers shot themselves in the foot by trying to sneak a major redesign of the Replacement Steam Generators (RSG's) by the NRC by telling them it was a like for like exchange when it was not, to prevent a lengthy design review by the NRC. This would have cost SCE big bucks in delaying restarting the reactor but when they did restart the reactor, their design failures started to cause the steam generator tubes (SGT's) that carry the highly radioactive, super hot, high pressure steam to vibrate and rub against each other, causing what is known in the industry as fretting wear...

At its June 18, 2012, AIT presentation, the NRC said, “Throughout the US nuclear industry, this is the first time more than one steam generator tube failed pressure testing…. Eight tubes failed. The pressure testing identified that the strength of eight tubes was not adequate and structural integrity might not be maintained during an accident… this is a serious safety issue.”

+

California ISO prepares for another potential summer without San Onofre generation
http://is.gd/eyetRe

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:36 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Major points against SanO remaining in operation:

1. It is sited on Major Fault lines + the new NRC Director is a trained Geologist that knows faults.

2. SCE sneaked the RSG phony design past the NRC review process!

3. SCE/SanO has the worst operated reactor in the Country.

4. SCE has a long history of major Safety violations that is the worst in the USA.

5. SanO almost had a major nuclear accident because of bad tube designed "in-house"...

6. Decommissioning SanO would instantly solve all the NRC SanO oversight issues.

7. The NRC knows that if they stop SanO from restarting, the Industry will get the message, to tighten up their operations.

8. It will make the NRC look great without making them look like they caved into the activists.

9. Restarting even under 70% power has MAJOR RISKS, as the DAB Safety Team has already pointed out, so why take ANY chances?

As I see it, the NRC would much rather have all its SanO problems get Decommissioned and we can help by telling them N☢ RESTARTS

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:37 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Radioactive Food Contamination in CA?
http://www.enviroreporter.com/2012/08/no-place-to-...

It contains large listing of radionuclides now being found in the USA and elsewhere...

Yet our EPA is saying nothing!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:41 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

It is now time for Gov. Brown to make sure that the CPUC demands that SCE & SDG&E issue refunds for this 1.2 Billion Dollar debacle, which includes 54 MILLION DOLLARS A MONTH that rate payers have and continue to pay for the SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) !
http://is.gd/fQ5qBd

Give US our rebates and stop stalling...

SCE & SDG&E shareholders should N☢T profit on the backs of rate payers!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 6:47 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

I hope KPBS will ask all our SoCal Leaders "on the record" who has taken money from SCE and or SDG&E and tell us what they find out!

I've heard through the grapevine that they have applied enormous pressure on SoCal's MSM to lay off this 1.2 Billion Dollar story!

Salute to KPBS for covering this story when most others choose not to!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 10, 2012 at 7:04 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

CA has a 40% Energy Surplus without either San Onofre or El Diablo with more Solar (of all flavors) being added daily...

Even if San Onofre was in PERFECT condition, why take any chance on having a nuclear problem just so SCE shareholders can profit?

As it is, the SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) steam generators are badly damaged and should never be allowed to restart unless it's Replacement Steam Generators are replaced with brand new ones without the SCE designed flaws of the current ones!

It is time for us all to demand that SCE/SDG&E isssue refunds of the 1.2 Billion Dollars (+ interest) that rate payers have spent to date!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'marasmom'

marasmom | October 10, 2012 at 7:26 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Excellent reporting, Alison St. John -- really appreciate KPBS' continuing, in-depth coverage of this very important decision impacting Southern California.

I wanted to clarify a misunderstanding that you seem to have about the Adjudicatory Hearing and License Amendment Process that our coalition has called for, though. It is NOT unusual, as you opined in your radio and TV reports today. We are talking about an adjudicatory hearing presided over by an administrative law judge/panel which allows parties other than NRC, Edison and Edison's allies in the nuclear power industry to testify under oath, cross-examine witnesses and evidence other than Edison's and the NRC's to be introduced into the NRC's decision-making record. The CA PUC does this ALL the time -- it in fact institutionalizes 3rd-party advocacy with the Division of Ratepayer Advocates which independent of the CPUC as administrative decision-maker; but it's decision-making processes also enable OUTSIDE parties to participate in its decision-making proceedings as well.

We aren't talking about an Independent Auditor or a "Special Master" appointed by a Court. We are talking about a generally-accepted practice of administrative law.

Of course, if the NRC refuses to undertake an Adjudicatory Hearing and License Amendment before allowing Edison to re-start Unit 2 -- then those 2 courses of action will be the next ones sought. Consider the Government Accountability Office, which is an independent agency that reports to Congress.

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Avatar for user 'marasmom'

marasmom | October 10, 2012 at 7:35 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Here is link to the NRC's adjudicatory hearing process: http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/adjudicatory/hearing-pro.html

"NRC's regulations in 10 CFR Part 2 specify different types of hearing processes for different types of agency actions. For some cases, particularly in the enforcement and certain reactor licensing areas, the NRC employs a formal, trial-type process similar to the procedures used in non-jury Federal court lawsuits, including pre-trial discovery between the parties and questioning of witnesses at an evidentiary hearing. In most cases, however, the NRC follows a more informal hearing process. Decisions of licensing boards can be appealed to the Commisson, and Commission decisions can be appealed to the U.S. Courts of Appeals."

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Avatar for user 'WhatsItAllAbout'

WhatsItAllAbout | October 10, 2012 at 9:43 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

If SC Edison is truly putting safety first then they should have nothing to hide and have no problem whatsoever with being put under oath, turning over all documents, data and records. We, the public, deserve data that is not loaded with missing or blacked out sections. What are they hiding?
I have zero confidence in SC Edison or the NRC unless they they go thru the full, transparent Adjudicatory Hearing and License Amendment process, including evidentiary hearing with sworn testimony and cross-examination which include experts independent of the NRC, Edison and the nuclear power industry.
Ratepayers are being charged $54 Million a month for this debacle. That is unacceptable! Imagine how much safe, secure, job producing, Roof Top Solar that would buy!

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