KPBS Special Coverage: Trouble At San Onofre
Southern California Edison has announced it will retire the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which has been offline since a small radiation leak in January 2012 led to the discovery of excessive wear on hundreds of steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water. Here's your manual to how it all began.
San Onofre operator, Southern California Edison says it found more tube wear in Unit 2, similar though less serious than in Unit 3. As the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the plant will not restart until the root cause is discovered, California’s energy agencies gear up efforts to get substitute power from decommissioned power plants.
Federal regulators warned Southern California Edison about fire safety lapses at San Onofre two years ago. Now KPBS has learned of continued employee complaints of fire risks at the nuclear plant.
The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant operated for three decades with equipment that could have temporarily cut off the plant’s emergency power supply in the event of an earthquake, government filings revealed.
The San Onofre nuclear power plant has been off line since January, when a small radiation leak revealed major problems with the newly installed steam generators. No one is sure when or if the operator, Southern California Edison, will restart the plant.
The agency holds a public meeting on the San Onofre nuclear plant, but is also under scrutiny from the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst.
Restarting San Onofre
A new report introduced to a U.S. Senate committee contends the steam generators at San Onofre are in much worse shape than publicly acknowledged, finding 400 times as many damaged steam generator tubes as in a typical nuclear reactor with new steam generators.
A leak led to the permanent closure of the San Onofre Nuclear power plant, but many questions remain. Who will pay for the enormous costs of the shutdown? And what does the trouble at San Onofre say about the safety of nuclear power?