San Onofre Nuke Fiasco – It’s Not just the Steam Generators that Failed – Jan 2016
UT San Diego
“When alloy tubing in one of the new steam generators at San Onofre leaked a small amount of radiation four years ago this week, engineers at Southern California Edison immediately instituted emergency protocols and shut down the nuclear plant.
Neither of the twin domed reactors on the north San Diego County coast have produced a spark of electricity since.
No one disputes what caused the failure — excessive wear in hundreds of tubes designed to drive hot steam through massive turbines is the confirmed culprit, numerous investigators and analysts found.
But what has become increasingly disputed since the plant went dark is the question of who is responsible for flawed replacement steam generators being installed and who should pay for the failure.
Edison, the San Onofre operator and majority owner, said it had no knowledge of design flaws that led to the Jan. 31, 2012, breakdown. Edison places the blame with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the Japanese firm hired to design and build the replacement steam generators.
“SCE was unaware of the steam generator defects until they were discovered after the tube leak in 2012,” spokeswoman Maureen Brown said in a statement. “It was up to MHI, as the designer and manufacturer, to decide what design features to include that would result in safe RSGs” or replacement steam generators.
Billions of dollars are at stake in the plant’s failure, and so far, the lion’s share of the tab is being covered by the ratepaying public.
Following a November 2014 vote by the California Public Utilities Commission, customers of Edison and minority owner San Diego Gas & Electric have been paying $3.3 billion of the $4.7 billion in identified closure costs, or 70 percent.
That balance remains controversial, as numerous lawsuits wind their way through various courts and the commission itself is the subject of state and federal criminal investigations over its ties to utility companies, which own the plant.
– Yes, it is a fiasco on every level, for ratepayers, for the utilities, for the stockholders, for the environment. We deserve better than this type of monumental failure. Now we see Governor Jerry Brown is caught up in this maelstorm along with Senate candidate and current California Attorney General Kamala Harris./CJ
Kamala Harris Questioned about Conflict of Interest in San Onofre Edison Closure Deal during Senate Debate
Senate candidate and current California Attorney General Kamala Harris was asked her opinion on a recent Public Utilities Commission plan to keep the San Onofre nuclear waste on site for the foreseeable future. Harris declined to answer stating as AG she was representing the CPUC as well as conducting a criminal investigation into the CPUC and the plant closure deal.
The moderator correctly pointed out that the two issues were not related when Harris let out the bombshell that she was conducting a criminal investigation into the nuclear plant and ‘the conduct that took place there.’
This appears to the tip of a very large iceberg here. In the middle of her Senate campaign, Kamala Harris faces a huge conflict of interest in a major scandal. The deal ironed out between the CPUC and Edison was clearly illegal, Harris has evidence as the result of a search, and now we find that Gov Jerry Brown is refusing to release emails related to the matter./CJ
– The San Diego Union-Tribune published an article on the issue the moderator is raising here.