Power outage hit San Onofre nuclear plant on Wednesday || OC Register
Backup systems worked to continue cooling spent fuel, officials said
Electricity is essential to circulate water around the hot waste in San Onofre’s spent fuel pools
“Backup generators rumbled to life at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on Wednesday, Jan. 29, when an issue with transmission lines feeding the plant caused a 44-minute power outage, operator Southern California Edison said.
Electricity is essential to circulate water around the hot waste in San Onofre’s spent fuel pools — one of the reasons officials are eager to move all waste into dry storage as soon as possible. Dry storage requires no electricity. All waste is slated to be in dry storage later this year.
Power, perhaps provided by plant part-owner San Diego Gas & Electric, cut out at 5:05 p.m. and was restored by 6 p.m., said Edison spokesman John Dobken. Workers followed procedures and were continuing to restore plant systems into the night.
Diesel generators and other equipment responded as designed “and at no time was there any public impact,” said Edison in a statement.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission office was notified. The cause of the outage is still being investigated.”
Even Edison wonders if nuclear waste should be buried near ocean
“There could be settlement talks in a lawsuit protesting the proposed burial of San Onofre nuclear waste 100 feet from the ocean near the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant.
San Diego-based Citizens Oversight sued the Coastal Commission for giving permission for burial of 3.6 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean and inches above the high water mark. Among many things, global warming could move the ocean inland and an earthquake could cause havoc, argues Ray Lutz, head of Citizens Oversight.
The idea “is insane,” says Lutz.
San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson, who represent Citizens Oversight, called the proposal “an absurd plan” in a filing in the case last year.
Southern California Edison, majority owner of the now-shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant, along with Aguirre and Severson, today (April 7) asked a Superior Court judge to postpone a hearing in the case April 14 so that there can be settlement discussions.
“We believe the parties in the case and many community leaders share a common goal to transfer San Onofre’s used nuclear fuel off-site as soon as reasonably possible,” said Tom Palmisano, Edison vice president and chief nuclear officer. “We are hopeful that settlement discussions will permit the parties to reach a mutually agreeable solution.”
This is a matter of strange bedfellows. Aguirre and Severson have been battling Edison for years. The two lawyers traced the secret cooperation of Edison and the state utilities commission in coming up with a plan to get ratepayers to shell out money for the closing of San Onofre.
In a case now at the appellate level, Aguirre and Severson argue that the plan to soak ratepayers was a violation of the Fifth Amendment. They say that Edison and the commission concocted a scheme forcing consumers to pay for electricity that they are not getting. That violates the concept of “just compensation,” the San Diego lawyers argue.”
More Public Speakers from the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel in Laguna Hills
…Ray Lutz and Torgen Johnson address the San Onofre CEP, Thursday May 11, 2017.
What the San Onofre Shutdown Means – Victory Press Conference & Interviews
The San Onofre Nuclear Waste Threat, Explained
“For the past 30 years the state park and its surrounding areas have been fiercely guarded by environmentalists, and for good reason. It’s the last piece of accessible open space along the Southern California coast. Located on the border of Orange and San Diego counties, these popular surf spots have been prized destinations since the early 1930s, long before the arrival of Camp Pendleton or the San Onofre Nuclear Power Generating Station (SONGS). While surfers had zero political power in the pre-park era, in mid-2008, the Surfrider Foundation led a coalition of environmental groups that rallied successfully to prevent a controversial toll road from cutting through both the park and the delicate San Mateo watershed. The battle continued until late last year, when a $28 million settlement was reached between the Transportation Corridor Agency, and a collection of environmental agencies and the attorney general’s office of California.
The groups declared victory with headlines like “Trestles Saved Forever!”. But a far larger threat looms, and it hasn’t received anywhere near the amount of attention it deserves from those organizations.”
Gov’t Report: US Nuclear Reactors Face ‘Doom And Gloom’ Scenario
|| Daily Caller
“America’s fleet of nuclear reactors is rapidly aging, posing a serious problem for the country, according to a Friday report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA.)
EIA’s report notes that nearly all nuclear plants in the U.S. started operating between 1970 and 1990. This means they’re aging fast and will need to renew their original 40-year operating licenses before 2050. Most of these reactors are only designed to function for a maximum of 60 years and the U.S. isn’t building new ones fast enough.
“The U.S. nuclear energy fleet and American global market leadership is clearly at cliff’s edge without new capacity given the current trajectory of premature plant closings and likely licensing-related plant retirements.,” David Blee, executive director of the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council (NIC), told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
EIA’s report estimates that 25 percent of currently operating U.S. nuclear electrical generating capacity will be forced to retire by 2050.
Nuclear power currently accounts for about 20 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S. and the country generated more nuclear energy than any other. This, however, is changing fast.
China is building 20 new nuclear reactors while South Korea alone has five more under construction. Meanwhile, only four reactors are under construction in the U.S. That’s barely enough to replace older reactors going out of service. More than half of the world’s nuclear reactors under construction are in Asia with the majority of those in China, according to Seeker.”
State utility regulators will again consider releasing San Onofre emails
|| U-T San Diego
“The day after then-Sen. Barbara Boxer called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Southern California Edison’s handling of the San Onofre nuclear plant, utility executive Michael Hoover sent an urgent email to another company official.
“We have a small window of opportunity to work with parties to implement a shutdown in exchange for getting our money back,” Hoover wrote to senior vice president Les Starck May 29, 2013. “That window will close soon and we will lose a very good opportunity.”
The next week, Edison International CEO Ted Craver placed a call to Gov. Jerry Brown — then with President Barack Obama in the Palm Springs area — to inform the governor that the company decided to close the broken power plant for good.
Craver later emailed his board of directors, alerting them to the decision and recounting his conversation with Brown.
The whirlwind of private communications and regulatory decisions surrounding the 2012 closure of the San Onofre plant became clearer after emails and other documents were released under a multitude of requests under the California Public Records Act.
Yet the California Public Utilities Commission continues to withhold specific emails between regulators and the Governor’s Office that could shed more light on why utility ratepayers are being charged billions of dollars for failure of the power plant north of Oceanside.
The commission on Thursday will consider whether to release more than 60 San Onofre-related emails exchanged between commission President Michael Picker and the Governor’s Office. The staff’s recommendation is that the board not release the emails to San Diego consumer attorney Michael Aguirre.
The item is posted on the commission’s consent agenda, where matters considered routine and not worthy of public debate are voted on in bulk. According to the draft resolution, the emails are not subject to disclosure because they are privileged communications.
“Aguirre claims the withheld records should be disclosed because the ‘public is highly interested in knowing the role the Governor’s office played in connection with San Onofre’,” it states.
”The plain language of Govt. Code section 6254(l), however, shows that the exemption to disclosure of documents exchanged with the Governor’s Office is an absolute exemption; it does not include a balancing test. Therefore, the public’s alleged interests in the disclosure of these records are not relevant.”
Commission spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said there is no legal requirement for commissioners to discuss every item on the agenda.
“The reasoning behind a commission decision or order is in the text of the order or decision itself,” she wrote in an email. “A vote of the consent agenda is a formal action.”
The agenda item Thursday follows a lawsuit Aguirre filed in 2015, arguing that the commission was improperly withholding the emails.
A San Francisco Superior Court judge was sympathetic to Aguirre’s case.
“There’s something about this that just doesn’t sound right, about stonewalling public information like this,” Judge Ernest Goldsmith told commission lawyers. “That’s the optics of where we are: There’s something the PUC doesn’t want out there.”
Before he could review the emails in chambers to decide whether they should be released, an appeals court sent the dispute back to the commission.
The appeals court agreed with the the utilities commission that the commission itself — not a judge — is the right place to go to contest a records request rejection by the commission.
A denial by the commission on Thursday could then be appealed to the state appeals court.
Aguirre and law partner Maria Severson complained that the commission excluded from the public file their petition outlining the events surrounding the closure — including emails like the one Hoover sent his colleague in 2013, when the company was deciding whether to repair or abandon the nuclear plant.
“The only document the PUC has before them is a proposed resolution and a summary of our argument,” Severson said. “That is disingenuous.”
Prosper said that the petition is available to commissioners, even if it’s not publicly posted with the commission agenda.
The San Diego lawyers said the emails between Picker and the Governor’s Office could explain how ratepayers ended up being charged $3.3 billion of the $4.7 billion in premature closure costs.
“They fought us at the Court of Appeal and now they fail to publicly disclose the damning evidence that commands release of the records,” Severson said. “By placing the matter on consent agenda without a hearing, they are again shutting out the public.”
Liza Tucker of Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group based in Santa Monica, said utility regulators have no business withholding records related to the plant closure and its settlement costs.
“That is an excuse to make sure the public never gets to the bottom of what really went down in the settlement over San Onofre,” she said. “It doesn’t answer the question about whether government officials helped Southern California Edison evade responsibility for one of the biggest financial and environmental disasters in the state.”