Monday, February 11, 2013

[ShutSanOnofre] Press Rel: NRC To Face Public Rage Over Rattling Reactor (2013-02-12)

PRESS RELEASE AND MEDIA  ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

NRC To Face Public Rage Over Rattling Reactor

 Coverup of Known Steam Generator Defects to Haunt Capistrano Beach Meeting

Safety Advocates to Rally and Hold Press Conference before Public Meeting at 4pm

EVENT DETAILS:

Event:            Rally / Press Conference
Date/Time:    Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 4pm.
Location:        Near Capo Beach Church, 25975 Domingo Avenue, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
Speakers:       Ray Lutz, CitizensOversight.org (MC)
       Gene Stone, of R.O.S.E. and San Clemente Resident
       Cathy Iwane, resident of Japan during Fukushima disaster and concerned parent
       Don Mosier, Del Mar City Councilmember and Scripps Institute Scientist
       Grace van Thillo, Resident of San Clemente
       Torgen Johnson, Professional Urban planner and Solana Beach Resident
       Ace Hoffman, Nuclear Industry Watchdog and Author, DAB Safety Team Spokesperson
       Chrystal Coleman, Vista Resident and concerned mother          
       Gary Headrick, San Clemente Green

Event:       NRC Meeting
Date/Time:       Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 6pm.
Location:          Capo Beach Church, 25975 Domingo Avenue, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
Live Webcast: http://video.nrc.gov.
Audio Stream: 1-888-790-2038; Passcode 47018.
The webcast and phone bridge will be one-way only. Questions or comments can be submitted to the NRC staff after the meeting at: OPA4resource@nrc.gov.

Feb 11, 2012 (SAN ONOFRE) – Experts and oversight groups are astonished by the proposal by Southern California Edison to restart the Unit 2 reactor and run it at 70% capacity, putting millions of residents at risk of another emergency shutdown and radioactivity release to the environment, or worse.

The public will rally and sponsor a press conference in opposition to restarting the San Onofre nuclear plant at 4:00 p.m., Feb. 12, just prior to the 6:00 p.m. public meeting conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at the Capo Beach Church, 25975 Domingo Avenue, Capistrano Beach, California.

Edison and the NRC are facing challenges to restart from a number of directions:

1. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) and U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey (Mass.) sent a letter to the NRC about a leaked report indicating that Edison and Mitsubishi "were aware of serious problems with the design of San Onofre nuclear power plant's replacement steam generators before they were installed" and "rejected enhanced safety modifications and avoided triggering a more rigorous license amendment and safety review process." [1]

2. Many grassroots organizations, city councils, San Diego School Board, Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner have demanded a full, transparent adjudicatory hearing and license amendment process, including experts independent of the NRC, Edison and the nuclear power industry, to review the failure of the stream generators and any proposal for restarting the plant.

3. Friends of the Earth filed a petition[2] with the NRC claiming that the confirmatory action letter from the NRC is serving as a de-facto license amendment, but without review by the public and other outside organizations, or any hearings. They also claim that the original approval of the replacement steam generator project should have triggered the license amendment process. This case is still in process.

4. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC,) which approves all financial aspects of the plant, started an investigation [3] into the ongoing outage of San Onofre viz cost and reliability of service.  Many have demanded that the NRC wait to approve any operation until the CPUC has completed their investigation. For all other types of utilities in California, the CPUC handles both the financial and safety aspects of public utility operation.

5. Also, motions have been filed with the CPUC to expedite a complete "reasonableness review" of Edison's original steam generator replacement project because it is now clear that the project has not been cost effective.  [4]

6. A study of NRC data [5] conducted by nuclear industry expert Dan Hirsch of the Committee to Bridge the Gap and instructor at University of California at Santa Cruz clearly shows that all four steam generators at San Onofre have experienced similar devastating wear during their first few months of operation. Most new steam generators have zero tubes damaged after the first refueling cycle while San Onofre has 1600 and 1800 tubes damaged in the Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors, respectively.

According to Hirsch, the steam generators in the two reactors exhibit almost identical severe wear patterns. There is no basis to assume that the Unit 2 steam generators are safe to operate at any power level.

7. The NRC recently asked Edison[6] to explain how the Unit 2 reactor could be run at 70% power when the license states that it must be capable of 100% power, given that the steam generators are necessary for the removal of heat from the reactor core in many accident scenarios. Since SCE has already admitted that the steam generators would exhibit excessive wear when run at 100%, it seems they are boxed into a corner with no way out.

8. The underlying agenda of SCE, the plant operator, was to "super-charge" the steam generators, essentially up-rating the plant to produce more power without NRC or public approval [7]. In an article in Nuclear Engineering International: "the major premise of the steam generator replacement project was that it would be implemented under the 10CFR50.59 rule, that is, without prior approval by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC)" [8, emphasis added].

Edison Chair Theodore F. Craver, Jr. admitted that it really was his decision alone to decommission the plant, and that it would be the most difficult decision of his career[9], and could be made immediately, regardless of NRC processing and inquiries.

CONTACTS:
Citizens' Oversight Committee                Ray Lutz / RayLutz@CitizensOversight.org / 619-820-5321
Peace Resource Center of San Diego        Carol Jahnkow / caroljahnkow@gmail.com / 760-390-0775
Residents Organizing for a Safe                Gene Stone / genston@sbcglobal.net /  949-233-7724
    Environment (ROSE)                              
San Clemente Green                                Gary Headrick / garyheadrick@gmail.com  /  949-218-4051


References:

[1] http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/06/local/la-me-0207-san-onofre-20130207 -- "Edison ignored safety risks at San Onofre, Sen. Boxer says"

[2] http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2012-11-san-onofre-federal-regulator-opens-proceedings-that -- "San Onofre: Federal regulator opens proceedings that could decide reactors' future"

[3] http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M030/K513/30513811.PDF -- "ORDER INSTITUTING INVESTIGATION REGARDING SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION UNITS 2 AND 3"

[4] http://www.sandiegolovesgreen.com/articles/the-petition-for-reopening-proceedings-on-san-onofre/ -- "Petition to Reopen CPUC's San Onofre Steam Gen Replacement Project authorization case for Reasonableness Review"

[5] http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M1307 -- "FAR OUTSIDE THE NORM: The San Onofre Nuclear Plant's Steam Generator Problems in the Context of the National Experience with Replacement Steam Generators"

[6] http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1235/ML12356A198.pdf - "OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION -- REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION -- SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION, UNIT 2 -- RESPONSE TO MARCH 27,2012, NRC CONFIRMATORY ACTION LETTER -- DOCKET NO. 50-361 -- TAC NO. ME9727"

[7] http://sciencedude.ocregister.com/2012/01/05/powering-up-nuclear-plant-to-boost-output/166317/ -- Powering up: Nuclear plant to boost output -- "The new [steam] generators raised the amount of steam energy produced in the reactors."

[8] http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M1252 -- "Improving Like-for-like RSGs" from Nuclear Engineering International -- Describes the many changes made to the steam generators to increase the steam energy developed.

[9] http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/06/san-onofre-offline-through-summer.html -- "San Onofre nuclear plant out of service for the summer" (June 7, 2012)


                    ###
--   -----------------------  Ray Lutz  Citizens' Oversight  CitizensOversight.org  619-820-5321      
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