Southern California Edison, the operator of the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), has proposed to restart one of the facility’s two damaged reactors without repairing or replacing the parts at the root of January’s shutdown. The Thursday announcement came over eight months after a ruptured heat transfer tube leaked radioactive steam, scramming Unit 3 and taking the entire plant offline. But perhaps more tellingly, Edison’s plan–which must be reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission–was issued just weeks before the mandated start of hearings on rate cuts.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday October 5, 2012 2:45 pm|
|By: Gregg Levine Monday September 17, 2012 1:45 pm|
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the twin-reactor power plant that spread its isotopic glow across coastal communities from Los Angeles to San Diego, was declared dead last week. SONGS, as it was affectionately known, was 44, though many of its parts are considerably younger.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday August 17, 2012 3:00 pm|
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission hit Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) with a violation for what it called a lapse in plant security, the agency announced late Thursday.
The NRC noted the violation during a four-day inspection in May. SONGS has been completely offline since January, when a radioactive leak led to the discovery of severely degraded heat exchanger tubes in both of the plant’s (nominally) operating reactors. (In July, the NRC released its report on the tube failures, saying that although plant operators had made major design changes that affected the stability of the tubes, they had not violated any laws.)
Regulators said Edison “failed to develop procedures to monitor electronic devices related to security,” but the NRC has withheld most of the details of the violation.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday February 3, 2012 2:29 pm|
For those who thought that, with the new year, nuclear power had turned a page and put its “annus horribilis” behind it–as if the calendar were somehow the friend America’s aging reactors–let’s take a quick look at January 2012.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday September 30, 2011 4:55 pm|
As September drew to a close, residents of southwest Michigan found themselves taking in a little extra tritium, thanks to their daily habit of breathing. The tritium was courtesy of the 40-year-old Palisades Nuclear Generating Station in Covert Township, which suffered its third “event” (as they are politely called) in less than two months, and was forced to vent an indeterminate amount of radioactive steam.
The reactor at Palisades was forced to scram after an accident caused an electrical arc in a transformer in the DC system that powers “indications and controls“–also known as monitoring devices, meters and safety valves.
While it is nice to see rectors shut themselves down when a vital system goes offline, remember that “turning off” a fission reactor is not like flicking a light switch. Shutting down a reactor is a process, and the faster it is done, the more strain it puts on the reactor and its safety and cooling systems. And even after fission is mitigated, a reactor core generates heat that requires a fully functional cooling system.