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Report Critical Of San Onofre Restarting Steam Generators

Evening Edition

Daniel Hirsch, the president of Committee to Bridge the Gap and a lecturer on nuclear policy at UC Santa Cruz, talks to KPBS about San Onofre.

Aired 9/24/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Daniel Hirsch, president, Committee to Bridge the Gap, lecturer on nuclear policy at UC Santa Cruz



Far Outside the Norm-The San Onofre Nuclear Plant's Steam Generator Problems

Far Outside the Norm-The San Onofre Nuclear Plant's Steam Generator Problems

Far Outside the Norm: The San Onofre Nuclear Plant's Steam Generator Problems by Committee to Bridge the Gap

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Southern California Edison Statement:

"SCE has and will continue to make its top priority the safety of the public and its workers.

"Our engineers and a team of external experts are currently working on the response to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Confirmatory Action Letter which will include a thorough understanding of the cause, the repair plan and the corrective actions for Unit 2. This document will be publically available in its entirety when it is submitted. The commission has stated that it will take as long as needed to review the response. SCE will not restart the unit until we and the NRC are satisfied it is safe to do so."

Jennifer Manfrè, Senior Manager, Media Relations

Southern California Edison

Early next month, Southern California Edison says it will deliver a long-awaited letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that is expected to describe the root causes of the tube failure that shut down steam generators at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Both reactors have been offline since January.

In the meantime, another investigation into San Onofre's problems was recently introduced at a U.S. Senate committee which oversees nuclear regulation. The Committee to Bridge the Gap contends the damaged steam generators at San Onofre are in much worse shape than publicly acknowledged.

The co-author of that report, Daniel Hirsch, told KPBS San Onofre had 400 times as many damaged steam generator tubes as in a typical nuclear reactor with new steam generators. He said there were also 1,000 times as many indications of wear.

"These are very, very sick reactors," he said.

Hirsch said they asked the NRC for this data, but the NRC didn't have it. So his organization, Committee to Bridge the Gap, went through inspection reports on all other nuclear reactors in the country on their own.

Southern California Edison declined to speak to KPBS about the issue, but released a statement saying they are working on a response to the NRC.

Hirsch said the data they found needs to be considered before the decision is made to put San Onofre back online.

Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | September 24, 2012 at 1:05 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

If the tubes in the Steam Generators fail, say because of being over stressed by a large earthquake, there is no way to stop the complete "VENTING" of the entire reactor's highly radioactive, high temperature high pressure coolant ...

Said another way, think what a radiator hose failure or removing a radiator cap does when the engine has been running for a long time in the summer; now imagine that it is a huge nuclear reactor pressure vessel connected with large diameter pipes to its giant steam generators that is now suddenly starting to vent a scalding radioactive steam/water vapor at the rate of hundreds of gallons per minute, PER TUBE FAILURE.

Sure they can try and add "makeup" water in an attempt to replace the radioactive core water level falling but by the time the very high pressure in the reactor pressure vessel gets even close to atmospheric pressure, most if not all of the original highly radioactive reactor coolant, which is much more than 100,000 gallons, will be vented to the atmosphere forming a huge radioactive cloud as it starts moving "downwind"!

While this is happening, remember that as the level of the radioactive core cooling water drops the temperature of the core itself starts rising rapidly which even makes it even harder to slow the venting!

The tubes inside the steam generator are the weak link in the voluminous hi-pressure, hi-temp. reactor core cooling system, since there is no way to stop a radioactive blowout once it starts!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | September 24, 2012 at 1:10 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

The SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) started on Jan 31, 2012 and therefore has been going on for about 8.5 months...

Therefore at $65 Million per month, SoCal ratepayers have been charged (8 months X $65 Million Dollars per month) 552.5 Million Dollars which has gone to SCE and SDG&E for no electricity generated!

Said another way SoCal ratepayers have paid about HALF A BILLION DOLLARS in what I believe will be the biggest Energy Boondoggle in US History!

If a bank in CA was robbed and they stole a couple of million dollars, it would be on both the Local and National news, yet MSM in Southern California is almost silent about SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) half a billion dollar Utility "heist".

Ask yourself why we should accept this, then ask all your elected Leaders why they are silent!

Each day we wait for a refund is costing all of US about 2 million Dollar more.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | September 24, 2012 at 1:11 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

More info on this Reader story:
Group to Ask for Full Disclosure on San Onofre

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Avatar for user 'BilllHawkins'

BilllHawkins | September 24, 2012 at 8:59 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

Ultimate Enlightenment, Nuclear Wisdom & Expensive Lessons Learnt: A joint enquiry by the US Departments of Justice and Labor into the dark inner secrets of SONGS Steam Generator Degradation and Safety/Discrimination/Intimidation/Retaliation/Harassment Concerns will not only cure SONGS Problems but will improve safety record at other similar US Nuclear Power Plants. This investigation will help CPCU, NRC, NEI, INPO and other US Agencies responsible for the protection of health and safety of Americans from potential radiological accidents, which can be caused by natural forces, human errors, equipment failures poor training, poor operating procedures and production/profit oriented management, etc. Foreign-owned NEI Qualified,"US Nuclear Manufacturers/Designers" will dominate the Future US Nuclear Energy Market, but NRC, NEI, INPO and other US Agencies need to ensure that their technology is safe, reliable and affordable for the US Public and Rate Payers by using: As a NRC Section Chief of MIT Intelligence says to his dedicated staff, "Before approving any Safety Evaluation and other Licensing Documents/Inspection Reports, Please, "Read and reread in-between the lines', use a 'Critical Questioning & Investigative Attitude' and 'Solid Teamwork & Alignment' between NRC Staff, Licensee, Manufacturers and Vendors." This saying is consistent with the teaching of World's Foremost Expert on preventing the adverse and expensive effects of Turbulence-induced vibrations and Fluid Elastic Instability in Nuclear Power Plant Components and Heat Exchangers.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | September 27, 2012 at 12:10 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

Posted from:
San Onofre Waste Generating Station:

The # 1 US Nuclear Safety Concern ==> San Onofre's Repl. Steam Gen.'s

The DAB Safety Team is thankful to numerous anonymous concerned SONGS Workers, who have provided factual information in the interest of the Public Safety to us so that we could arrive at these “Reasonable Conclusions” regarding SONGS Replacement Steam Generators Degradation. We acknowledge Fairewinds Energy Association, Professor Daniel Hirsch, Friends of the Earth, San Clemente Green, Media, News Papers and the SD Reader, whose material has contributed to the successful completion of this document.

NOTE: These Preliminary Conclusions are subject to change upon receipt of Southern California Edison's (SCE) SONGS Unit 2 Restart Plan and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Root Cause Evaluation.

If SONGS Unit 2 is allowed to operate at reduced power, an Un-isolable main steam line break accident can occur at any time, due to a postulated design basis earthquake and/or any other associated failure. Due to this event, the depressurization of the steam generator caused by the steam line break coupled with the excessive vibrations due high differential pressure (> 2250 psi), high reactor coolant water temperature inside the tubes, the compact space between the SONGS U-Tube Bundle and the moisture separators (compared with other Mitsubishi Steam Generators) and the steam over-pressurization would cause the elastic deformation (NRC AIT Report, Mitsubishi Preliminary Cause Evaluation) of the taller U-tube bundle due to increased U-tube bundle height, high localized steam-voids or dry-outs (two-phase mist region, almost devoid of water in undefined central portion of the U-tube bundle above the 7th support plate) and narrow-pitch/tube diameter ratio. This unanalyzed and rare phenomena not experienced in the Steam Generators operating history, in turn, would cause the onset of fluid elastic instability conditions due to the 100% localized steam voids in the central portion of U-Tube bundle above the 7th Support Plate. The fluid elastic instability conditions would result in further lowering the already low in-plane tube clearances (Attributed to unanalyzed effects because of addition of more tubes to achieve more thermal MWt out of the SGs). The combination of these factors along with a poorly designed anti-vibration support structure [low damping capability of the support structure (i.e., the tube support plates, the tube-sheet, and the anti-vibration bars)] would result in excessive and violent vibrations, cause tubes to hit each other in the in-plane direction, result in leaking tubes, which would cause high-pressure primary sub-cooled water jets. These high-pressure jets would cut holes into other already worn tubes and create undetermined number of cascading tube ruptures.


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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | September 27, 2012 at 12:10 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

DAB Safety team Con't:

The cumulative effects of the above conditions along with the unanalyzed effects of plugged and staked tubes would rupture other damaged, plugged, staked and worn tubes. The amount of leaking reactor coolant through these ruptured tube cuts is beyond the analyzed limits of a SONGS UFSAR Analysis [Three combined independent events loads (DBE + MSLB + LOCA)] that would be released via the blowing radioactive steam carrying Un-partitioned reactor coolant from the Un-isolated steam generator into the environment. This uncontrolled radiological accident would release significant amounts of radiation, which could adversely affect the health and safety of all Southern Californian residents plus the transient population within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone. We believe that this scenario can also progress into a nuclear meltdown of the reactor due to potential errors by plant operators unable to diagnose and control rapidly changing plant conditions due to the confusion caused by the non-user friendly and complex, abnormal, emergency operating and emergency plan implementing procedures.

This scenario is a departure from a method of evaluation described in the UFSAR used in establishing the SONGS design bases or in the safety analyses and requires a NRC 50.90 License Amendment before SONGS Unit 2 or 3 can be allowed to restart. A permission by NRC for SONGS restart of either Unit 2 or 3 without the 50.90 License Amendment would be construed as: (1) Repeat violation of NRC 50.90 License Amendment Process by SCE, (2) Violation of SCE’s Overriding Obligation to protect the health and safety of Southern Californians from radiological accidents, and (3) Inconsistent with the NRC's long history of commitment, transparency, participation, and collaboration with the public's oversight of Nuclear Reactor regulatory activities.

-- The DAB Safety Team

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 6, 2012 at 6:01 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

SCE's Restart PR Campaign Backfires in MV!
SCE's RESTART PR campaign is now in full swing, please tell your friends to find out what SanO insiders are saying about all the technical issues AGAINST RESTARTING SanO, before they attend the NRC Dana Pt. meeting 10-09-12.

The complete 6 page PR memo can be viewed online:

Along with many of the other of the DAB Safety Team's "Papers", like "DAB Safety's Initial Response to SCE's Restart Plan", so please bookmark it as MORE information will be posted to keep you in the know.

Remember: Any SCE restart is nothing but a $1.2 Billion Get out of Jail Free Card for them!

Just SAY N☢ To Any Restart TESTING, SoCal cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima!CaptD

p.s. Kudos to Joe for the SCE PR Restart Pitch Info!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | October 7, 2012 at 1:10 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 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 just get "Decommissioned" and we can help by telling them N☢ RESTARTS...

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Avatar for user 'MajorTom'

MajorTom | January 7, 2013 at 4:53 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Houston, we have a problem.
can you here me?

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