Skip to main content

View Diary: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Fukishima (154 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  asdf (13+ / 0-)

    There's so much that is wrong with this diary, you should be embarassed to have posted it.

    First, the plan to operate at 70% power INCREASES the margin of safety, not to operate at 70% of the safety beforehand.

    Second, San Onofre Units 2 & 3 are designed by Combustion Engineering and are Pressurized Water Reactors.  Fukushima Daiichi Units 1-5 were designed by General Electric and are Type I Boiling Water Reactors.  Additionally, Fukushima Unit 3 was also designed to and burned mixed oxide fuel.  The designs and basis for operation for the two types of plants are completely different.

    Third, the type of earthquake, potential ground acceleration possible and resulting tsunami which is what cause 95%+ of the actual problems) are impossible in the area that San Onofre is located at.  That said, the design basis of San Onofre's NRC licensing for earthquakes should be investigated and any appropriate changes should be made.

    I can accept, but not truly understand, being against nuclear power.  But pure trype as shown in this diary is pretty unacceptable.  If you are devoted to being against something, at least attempt to understand what the heck you're against.  Protesting for the sake of protesting is worthless and changes nothing.

    "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

    by erush1345 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 01:41:16 PM PDT

    •  asdf, part 2 (10+ / 0-)

      Thanks for the feedback on the technology side of things.  Apparently, you know much more than I do about the tech that goes in to making nuclear power and I genuinely appreciate the corrections, as they were.  

      Embarrassed to post, though?

      No.  

      San Onofre is shut down currently?  Why?  Because it is leaking radiation.  

      Maybe that doesn't bother you, but to those who live within a ten mile, twenty mile radius of the potential disaster that would be a meltdown, it's a big problem.

      I would also contend that this myth that a tsunami is impossible in the area of San Onofre is just that ... as much bull pucky as most myths that Mother Nature isn't lurking.  

      There are numerous fault zones that cross the floor of the ocean just off the coast in Southern Cal.  The USGS has stated numerous times that the lie that a tsunami isn't possible here needs to be debunked.  The promotion that San Onofre is safe from Tsunami is something that has been pushed since the 80s to make local residents feel better about spending millions on beach front property.

      Sorry for the technological errors.  I hope, though, you will see that having a ticking time bomb in your back yard is more than a mere nuisance.  

      •  asdf (6+ / 0-)

        I live near-ish to the area, though not within 20 miles and I do pay for the electricity generated by the site (along with the replacement steam generator costs).

        I have a background in nuclear power and worked in the industry for 8 years, so I understand a bit more than the average person on the topic.  That is not the issue, I don't expect anyone to be an expert, though there are people with a lot of background in the field here on DKos, on both sides of the aisle of nuclear power here in the U.S.  I do feel you did a very poor presentation of your case with very shoddy information why you opposed it (well beyond nukes = bad).

        Knowing what I know about San Onofre compared to Japan shows a hell of a lot more preparation for an incident than Japan was.  Does this mean absolute safety?  No, nothing can ever be aboslutely safe, even solar panels kill people (especially in China).  But I'd feel safer living in San Clemente than in Fukushima (well, prior to their meltdowns).  I feel that San Onofre has a much larger chance of NOT melting down due to design and site layout, even in the worst case scenario, than Fukushima fared.

        I did state the tsunami wording poorly.  I intended to state that a tsunami of the scale that occured in Japan was impossible in the San Onofre area because the fault types are not the same.

        Nuclear power plants are in no shape nor form to a ticking time bomb.  This is the type of rhetoric that really gets me shaking my head.  Really...

        "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

        by erush1345 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 03:25:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  nuclear power plants (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, Sandino, Joieau, sleipner, JesseCW

          just have far too many heinous failure modes and
          the operators are far too cheap, to ever invest into the equipment needed to provide operators with the tools they need to handle these problems

          •  Yet, fossil fuel power is far more dangerous (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aramis Wyler, Ender, gzodik

            Fossil fuel power kills and destroys in small increments on a massive scale. Like the proverbial frog in a pot you don't  realize it's cooking you.

            look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

            by FishOutofWater on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 07:17:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i believe fossil and nuclear are both going away (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sleipner, JesseCW, jm214

              fast, real fast.

              Renewables are starting to dominate in an environment of highly variable energy prices and cheap interest rates,

              Deutsche bank thinks solar is at grid parity in a handful of countries now and is headed there next year in a whole bunch more.

              I think this summer we will see Germany really pushing the envelope and the grid stability with their PV systems.

              We can fix this all real fast and with simple policy and investment

              •  You're dreaming. Photovoltaics are < 10% (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gzodik, Roadbed Guy

                of our total electrical generation and always will be.

                •  No...they...are...not. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW

                  It's about 1% and that is capacity, not availability or capacity factor. Nuclear is 19%! It's not going away, at least not quickly.

                  There are over 60 nuclear plants being built right now, almost half of those in China. Most of Asia is committed to nuclear save for Japan (and that's up in the air, actually).

                  S. Korea is planning and building plants to take them from the current 39% nuclear to 59% nuclear over the next 20 years.

                  People project their own views onto the world narrowly as if nothing exists outside the room their computer is in.

                  Look before you leap.

                  Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                  by davidwalters on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 09:12:28 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Always will be? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jm214

                  Admittedly, it's under 10 now, but there's significant potential for solar to provide all daytime peak power, which could well be a majority of the electric energy.

                  HOwever, at the rate at which PV is being installed, that's going to take a couple of decades, unless something changes dramatically (which it well could)

                  Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                  by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:02:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  the germans look to break 50% (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mindful Nature

                    this year.

                    they've had 100% PV days and they are seeing negative rates for power at night.

                    Germany could be an all renewable electricity market on a net basis very soon.

                    they have to install a grid upgrade to move power North/South, but that's a 2 year effort, if they make it a national priority.

                    •  I wish (0+ / 0-)

                      The US would make it that kind of priority

                      I think here they were talking not about sntantaneous peak, but totals.  I'm not sure what proportion of TWh is PV

                      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                      by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 07:06:29 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  50% of what? (0+ / 0-)

                      What * they * are actually doing is increasing coal use

                      In 2012 the German electricity sector increased its coal usage by 4.9 percent over its coal consumption value of 2011.[11]
                      link

                      And aren't doing all that spectacularly with renewables, either:

                      Germany has been called "the world's first major renewable energy economy" by Renewable energy world.[2]

                      However according to the OECD factbook 2011-2012, Germany attains 9.3% of its total energy requirements(including electricity and other energy needs) from renewable energy sources, which is below the world average of 13.1%.

            •  And I have heard... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jm214

              Fossil fuels release quite a lot of radioactive materials. Called NORMs (Naturally Occuring Radioactive Materials), such as Uranium and Radon. These are completly ignored when assessing risks of fossil energy sources.

              "If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth." African Proverb (-6.00,-7.03)

              by Foreign Devil on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:42:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, quite a bit . . . (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Foreign Devil
                Based on the predicted combustion of 2516 million tons of coal in the United States and 12,580 million tons worldwide during the year 2040, cumulative releases for the 100 years of coal combustion following 1937 are predicted to be:

                U.S. release (from combustion of 111,716 million tons):
                Uranium: 145,230 tons (containing 1031 tons of uranium-235)

                Thorium: 357,491 tons

                Worldwide release (from combustion of 637,409 million tons):

                Uranium: 828,632 tons (containing 5883 tons of uranium-235)

                Thorium: 2,039,709 tons

                link
                •  Coal releases Radio-isotopes (0+ / 0-)

                  one coal plant releases abotu 20 curies of radiation per year.

                  When Fukushima blew it released some 60 million curies of radiation.

                  The other thing is different types of radiation have different impacts.  Uranium is mostly a Gamma-emitter, hard to shield but, lower interaction potential.  Things like Cesium are Alpha emitters, easy to shield but if you inhale them they really mess you up.

            •  Yet, Nuclear is far more expensive than renewable (0+ / 0-)

              power, meaning that only idiots or people who liked taking extreme pointless risks while wasting money for fun would back it.

              income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

              by JesseCW on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:45:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  oh yes (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gzodik, FishOutofWater

                calling people idiots.  The typical response when you don't have actual arguments.  How refreshing!

                However, there are a couple of key considertations to keep in mind:

                1) Renewables are not likely to provide 100% of our electricity for a couple of decades at th earliest (given that significant excess capacity and transmission would be required, or storage)
                2) Climate change is real and will kill a great many people
                3) Direct impacts of fossil fuels from pollution (and radiation, in the case of coal) are significant, killing, I believe, some 13,000 people a year in the US alone.  I believe air pollution (which is more than coal) in CHina is estimated to kill a million a year, per recent reports.  THAT is the bar.
                4) Even with Chernobyl and Fukushima, which account for on the order of 25,000 and perhaps 5, 000 excess cancers over the course of 70 years, nuclear simply does not account for anywhere near the mortality and morbidity attributable to fossil fuels.  The coal numbers above amount to 2.5 Fukushimas every year not spread over 70.

                So, put that together, and we'll need a back up source of power for our renewables for the next twenty years.  Do you choose the source that is responsible for fewer deaths or the one that kills more people?  That's the question.

                Of course, there are reasonable reasons for being more cautious (e.g., we could face something even worse than Fukushima or Chernobyl).  However, stop pretending that people who have analyzed the actual facts and reached a different conclusion are corrupt or idiots.  All you are showing is that you haven't done enough of your homework to understand why people reach a different conclusion.

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:08:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  we can change the electricity picture in 5 years (0+ / 0-)

                  if we made a dedicated push and we could do it in 10 if
                  we don't try and obstruct that process.

                  http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/...

                  look at the germans coal and nuclear are decaying fast

                  •  Unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy

                    You article is from 2011, so it doesn't capture shutting down the nuclear plants post Fukushima, which contributed to a 13% increase in coal consumption

                    Your larger point is true that a smart national energy policy could tackle this if we spent $2trillion on that rather than dumb wars

                    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                    by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:44:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                      •  No actually (0+ / 0-)

                        Read the article again.  What he says is totally consistent with what I said.   The reduction in nuclear contributed to the uptick in coal.  So did other things.  Note also, the same pattern occurred in Japan.  Yes it still is lower than 1990 or 2005.   But it is still an uptick in how much is being used.  

                        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                        by Mindful Nature on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:34:49 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  you didnt read the conclusion (0+ / 0-)

                          or care to.
                          Conclusion: Energiewende
                          While the United States and Britain re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic by shifting from coal to gas, the Germans are doing exactly what they have said that they would do: transition off of nuclear power, and fossil fuels, and move to renewables. If there is a one-year exception to the downward trend in the use of coal or any other non-renewable energy source along the way, this is, as K.F. Lenz puts it, “statistical noise”.

                          The great thing about the Future is it's going to happen despite what you may think about it, or be told to think about it.

                          •  Lenz is dead wrong (0+ / 0-)

                            is not noise.  It is not random variation, but derives from well understood market forces.  We know perfectly well what is driving the uptick, and it isn't going to just reverse itself this year magically.

                            I notices you still maintain your snotty middle school style attitude though towards those who disagree with you.

                            Please, go run along and play.

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:49:39 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you are just dead wrong (0+ / 0-)

                            Gipe has 20 years of German energy production
                            charted.

                            http://www.wind-works.org/...

                            you are howling about an uptick in soft coal burning that is less then 1990, and 2001. Every 3 years, a maintenance cycle goes off in Hard coal plants and a soft coal plant is brought online to  cover for it.  

                            You can see it in the data.

                            Why was soft coal production so high in 90?  

                          •  I see (0+ / 0-)

                            so the increase in coal was just random whim on the part of energy companies and had nothing to do with the decrease in nuclear power and gas generation and the increase in economic activity.  It was just purely "statistical noise" that we can ignore.  

                            1990 is neither informative or relevant to what is moving energy production today and doesn't tell you a lot about what is going to happen going forward.  I suppose it is possible that as more nuclear goes offline and the economy recovers that gas and coal also all decrease together.  Does that really seem likely to you?

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:18:02 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  electricity demand disconnecting from GDP (0+ / 0-)

                            http://calhounpowerline.com/...

                            it's a pity you don't keep up with the trades.

                            It's almost like you went to school a long time ago
                            and decided to stop learning.

                            http://www.eia.gov/...

                            A country's economy and its energy use, particularly electricity use, are linked. Short-term changes in electricity use are often positively correlated with changes in economic output (measured by gross domestic product (GDP)). However, the underlying long-term trends in the two indicators may differ. All else equal, a growing economy leads to greater energy and electricity use. However, in developed countries like the United States, the relationship has been changing for some time, as economic growth now outpaces electricity growth.

                          •  You (0+ / 0-)

                            Really don't understand what you post, do you?  Because if you did, you wouldn't post something that I already pointed out several posts ago and you would recognize the difference in time scales.  Yes, economies get more energy efficient, especially when tere is political will ( you ought to look at California's numbers.  We have had a slower energy growth relative to GDP to the point where some states use four times the energy perGDP compared to us.  This is called efficiency.

                            I think you've demonstrated yourself to be too semi literate to be worth trying to discuss with. Go along and peddle your stupid conspiracies and held truths to someone who doesn't know any better

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 04:25:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  And a further question (0+ / 0-)

                        There is a limit to how much solar and wind can provide (namely still nights).

                        What deployable existing technology  do we use for the "backup power" during those times between now and 2030?

                        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                        by Mindful Nature on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:12:28 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  wind usually has a nice night time availability (0+ / 0-)

                          we need a smart grid, we need to tie the grid operations
                          so we can move Hydro North to South, and,
                          we need to work on lots of small storage options.

                          It's an investment,  if the Feds won't make it,
                          i suspect the states may well.  California and NY
                          may well push hard

                          I suspect the south will stay backward much longer,
                          but Deutsche Bank says we hit Grid parity in 2014,
                          and after that, there will be big shifts.

                          •  So (0+ / 0-)

                            When do you expect that windpower capacity to be installed?

                            Right now, Germany has around 31 GW installed capacity, which with a capacity factor of around 20%, means that on average (very back of the envelope, I admit) Germany likely needs to increase its wind power by a factor of 5 or so just to deliver that kind of power.  Considering that the kind of regional integration typically considered for back up power usually means actual installed capacity in excess of nominally required capacity, Germany may well be unable to meet its full overnight needs until installed capacity is considerably more than that.

                            If the rate of installation is comparable to what it is now, that's 3GW a year, which means a long wait to get to that point.  Even if it shoots through the rough, it is still like to take 15 years to get there.

                            So, what provides your power at 3am until then?

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:29:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  one is simple approaches to improving capacity fac (0+ / 0-)

                            factors.

                            In Nukes, the Capacity factor for a long time was running at 40% and they drove it up to 88%,  mostly by clever management and operating with a lot of systems down.  

                            in wind the problems are both forecasting and actual output.

                            teh grid wants to buy MWh and the operators produce MWminutes.  

                            Improved forecasting to let operators sign up for more grid blocks or having the grid buy power in shorter increments 15 minutes vs an hour or integrating short term burst backup batteries . I know some operators are looking at small gensets or gas powered turbines to hot start and provide in fill power.

                            THe wind hits extractable power 85% of the time, how we go from a capacity factor of 30% to 85% is an answer that will make some people very wealthy.

                            when there is money there, the answers appear.

                      •  To be clear (0+ / 0-)

                        I think the German approach is the way to go

                        However, I don't see the US doing that anymore than I see us adopting single payer, German gun control laws, or German approaches to labor relations either.   It is a political question in large measure rather than a technical one

                        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

                        by Mindful Nature on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:28:29 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  paul gibe updated his resource charts (0+ / 0-)

                      http://www.wind-works.org/...

                      sorry, you still lose.

                      http://www.wind-works.org/...

                      coal has a little bit of noise in it's production figures, but gas and nuclear are falling off hard while renewables are racing forward.

        •  Small tsunamis are possible at San Onofre (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          2laneIA, Ender, elfling, gzodik

          but subduction zone M9 megathrust earthquakes like the one in Japan that created the Tohoku super-tsunami are not. Dr. Jose Borrero of USC published detailed tsunami hazard assessments for the coastline of Southern California.

          The sea wall around San Onofre is higher than Jose's calculated maximum tsunami height. FYI, Jose studied the Indonesian tsunami so he has a clue about how bad tsunamis can be.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

          by FishOutofWater on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 07:13:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If Fukushima would have had outside electrical (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gzodik

            connections where you could fly in a diesel generator and provide emergency backup power, that would have prevented most of the problems.

            That and prevent a simple hydrogen + air explosion.

            •  not really (0+ / 0-)

              They were having big plumbing problems, they lost electrical and then things went downhill from there.

              Those plants were critically damaged by ground movement and the tsunami just kicked them when they were on their knees.

        •  The issue with San Onofre (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sleipner, JesseCW, worldlotus, patbahn

          is that it purchased - at considerable expense - some brand new design replacement steam generators from Mitsubishi that were KNOWN before they ever got to California to be faulty. SCE decided they couldn't wait for generators that might pass inspection, so they tried to re-weld the tubing so the danged things would work. That didn't help much either, so they're planning to use them anyway. They can only handle 70% flow, that is not some kind of concession from the utility not to go hog wild and run at 120% or something.

          The tubing still leaks like a sieve. That means primary system water is getting into the steam loop and going on out into the atmosphere from all the usual escape routes. They KNOW that operation at any level of power is going to be dumping fission products into the environment in unacceptable amounts. So they want the NRC to sign off on a waiver to let them dump fission products into the environment in unacceptable amounts.

          What could possibly go wrong?

          •  The first reactor at San Onofre was installed (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mindful Nature, Joieau, worldlotus

            backwards.

            I am not making that up.  I am not exaggerating.

            income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

            by JesseCW on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:48:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  more problematic, (0+ / 0-)

            the piping is likely to blow out and make it harder to cool the reactor.

            The primary cooling system is really optimally designed to run at one high pressure and the secondary loop usually has a lower pressure.  

            if it starts leaking, they need to close the main valves, then dump heat through the backups.

            also the reactor core is designed for stable run at 100 not 70.

            it's a serious design study to run a core at less then 100%

          •  They plugged the tubes (0+ / 0-)

            that had thinning problems.  Vibrations and poor bracing supports were causing the tubes to rub together and some of them (maybe 10%) of the total showed significant thinning.

            The licensee reviewed the amount released and estimated it was much less than is permitted by the plant operating license. NRC inspectors independently reviewed the release data and verified the licensee's findings. The release posed no threat to the public or the workers onsite.
            source

            They clearly screwed up the comissioning process, but the problem was caught in time.  

        •  Massive tsunamis do not have to be localy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus

          generated.

          income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

          by JesseCW on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:44:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  San Onofre isn't "leaking radiation" (0+ / 0-)

        If you doubt what I say, go their with a Geiger counter and prove me wrong.

    •  Yeah, right-io! I sure remember (7+ / 0-)

      The famous word s of George Will, in an article that he wrote three full days before the Three Mile Island "incident." This event is now considere donly an incident as most people as they didn't take the time to call up the US Senate and sask for all the Congressional testimony. So I went  through banker boxes full of testimony on what happened there - there were at least  two explosions which could have forced that  "incident" to go into full China Syndrome mode. Only the fact that the Three Mile Island builders had kept to spec's and used top quality concrete and other items saved our East Coast from, catastrophe.

      As far as whether or not San Onofre could or couldn't have an earthquake and/or tsunami - I have no idea where you are getting your data, but we have such tremendous earth changes going on, with all the liquification factors from a gazillion tons of glacier material melting that currently all bets are off in  terms of two horrific events: One) being earthquakes, and Two) being volcanoes.

      Also the earthquake doesn't have to occur exactly at the spot where something is located - please remember how the earthquake that precipitated the tsunami that took out beaches in Thailand occurred   many thousands of miles away!

      And of course, I am old enough  to remember how the "O rings" on the Challenger were A- okay,  only a one chance out of a BILLION that anything would go wrong. After that one, Never say Never has become my motto.

      Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

      by Truedelphi on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 07:45:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At San Onofre the real problem (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, JesseCW, Truedelphi, worldlotus, patbahn

        is that NORMAL operation will result in unacceptable levels of fission product releases because those expensive new steam generators leak very badly. It should not be allowed.

        •  Good to know. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau, worldlotus

          If you have some links, it would be appreciated. I may be re-entering the world of indie journalism and this is one story I would like to cover.

          The last time I wrote about San Onofre, I wondered how an "incident" there would affect anyone here in Northern calif.  And guess what? The day I wrote that article, mid-summer style weather, the wind was out of the south, and anything happening in San Onofre would have affected San Francisco, and much of the West Coast town and cities on the Pacific Coast. The whole West Coast would be drenched in radiation.

          Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

          by Truedelphi on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:12:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Links? lots of stuff for Nuke True Believers to de (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 04:26:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  There is really a ton (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            linkage, worldlotus, randallt, patbahn

            of information out there, including transcripts of NRC public meetings, inspection reports, incident reports, work orders, public statements, meetings with the PUC (plus testimony), press coverage, etc. Google some terms and go from there, there are many people keeping track.

            It's been a long, ongoing saga, but the bottom line is that the steam generators are trash. If restart of either unit is allowed, they'll need a special exemption from NRC from rules specifying allowed percentage of 'plugged' tubes. THAT is why they are talking 70% power - the generators can't handle more flow than that and still be effective at their designed purpose. Heat exchange.

            And even if they get that exemption, the badly damaged generators have a significantly shortened estimated service life and will again have to be replaced in just a few years. These are high dollar plant components. They are as necessary as the reactor. So the choices for SCE are loss from both directions, now or a little bit down the road.

            An AREVA analysis of the unit-2 SGs (released this week) show them to be in even worse shape than unit-3's, which caused the original shutdown due to leakage. They had hoped unit-2 could get the waiver for restart at reduced power, make up at least some of the lost cash flow. Leaks mean fission product contamination of the secondary loop, and that means increased releases to the environment. Everyone will be better off if they take their loss lumps now and call the whole thing off.

            •  even if they restart (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau

              without a fix and frankly, i don't think they can bandaid a 3 GW  Thermal exchanger,  if the interior linings are eroding, it's either some sort of cavitation or the tubes are shaking really hard and wearing at 10X their normal rate.

              if they run and they leak, then they have radiation cleanup problems in the turbines, and there aren't enough "Monkeys" to handle that, unless they bring the entire population of Mexico through the plant.

              If they run and blow the steam generator, then they have to SCRAM and plug and keep going, i think they will be lucky if they can get 20% power out of it.

              SONGS like a lot of other plants was way past it's original license and they need to be decommissioned.

              SCE wanted to avoid that cost so they felt spending a billion or two was a lot better then spending 10 billion to decon the rac.

              It's all over as far as i can tell

              •  They're already so plugged (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                patbahn

                they can't operate at ANY power level without being afoul of regulations. And yeah, the SGs are total trash, even worse thought-out of a design than GE Mark I and II BWR plants.

                Have you seen these things? Thought they were so very clever to make something much more compact and easily plugged in than those gigantic 60' straight-pipe jobs. Mitsubishi HI honestly thought it was a good idea to stick a U-bend right in the middle of the damned tubes... AREVA notes serious dents and gouges in all the pipes tested - there are apparently none in either unit-2 replacement steam generators that isn't already damaged. None.

                If NRC allows these idiots to power up EVER again, we should definitely gather up some torches and pitchforks.

                •  they will leak (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau

                  then they will fail.

                  then the plant will just be more expensive to de-commission.

                  What will be interesting is if SCE has a big price rise, people may form small electricity Co-ops and choose to go off grid.

                  •  Well, Lord knows (0+ / 0-)

                    they've got more sunshine in southern California, and more wind on the coastline of California, than they've got anywhere in Germany. I wouldn't mind if they started the 'New REC' movement off with a bang!

    •  Running at 70% power isn't any safer then (7+ / 0-)

      running at 100% power.

      There are 3 basic failure modes in a nuclear reactor
      1) Loss of coolant,
      2) Accidental Transient
      3) Station Blackout.

      The reality is running at 8% power can still createa transient or if you look at Fukushima unit 4, they were powered down and disassembled and they went into Blackout and exploded.

      I will let you work out loss of coolant.

      The issue at SONGS 1, is the heat exchanger is vibrating and cracking tubes. They are hoping that the lower power setting won't crack the tubes.  I think it's a false hope.

      i suspect the extended operations at a bad condition so damaged the heat exchanger as to bust it a long time ago.

      •  I think the Chernobyl disaster was caused (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        patbahn

        buy tests where the reactor was being run at very low power levels.

        "If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth." African Proverb (-6.00,-7.03)

        by Foreign Devil on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:49:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly right. They created a massive (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          water hammer and it ruptured the main steam lead.

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:19:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the way wikipedia states it (0+ / 0-)

            The increased coolant flow rate through the reactor produced an increase in the inlet coolant temperature of the reactor core, which now more closely approached the nucleate boiling temperature of water, reducing the safety margin.
            The flow exceeded the allowed limit at 01:19. At the same time, the extra water flow lowered the overall core temperature and reduced the existing steam voids in the core.[30] Since water also absorbs neutrons (and the higher density of liquid water makes it a better absorber than steam), turning on additional pumps decreased the reactor power further still. This prompted the operators to remove the manual control rods further to maintain power.[31]
            All these actions led to an extremely unstable reactor configuration. Nearly all of the control rods were removed, which would limit the value of the safety rods when initially inserted in a SCRAM condition. Further, the reactor coolant had reduced boiling, but had limited margin to boiling, so any power excursion would produce boiling, reducing neutron absorption by the water. The reactor was in an unstable configuration that was clearly outside the safe operating envelope established by the designers.

            and

            Because of the positive void coefficient of the RBMK reactor at low reactor power levels, it was now primed to embark on a positive feedback loop, in which the formation of steam voids reduced the ability of the liquid water coolant to absorb neutrons, which in turn increased the reactor's power output. This caused yet more water to flash into steam, giving yet a further power increase. However, during almost the entire period of the experiment the automatic control system successfully counteracted this positive feedback, continuously inserting control rods into the reactor core to limit the power rise.

            (THey were on the edge of nucleate boiling in the reactor, and the control rod design would briefly increase power by pushing water out of the channels, which led to positive void coefficient which leads to a massive run up in power)

        •  Initially yes, (0+ / 0-)

          but the severe design flaws and operator errors made the power spike at the bottom of the vessel precisely when they were trying to shut it down with control rods.  The startup phase is typically the most dangerous when it comes to reactivity accidents because you're not in a stable-state configuration where anomalies are easily detected.

          Running at low power doesn't imporove the basic safety features, but it does prevent heat imbalances.  In the reactors I work on you also get "Xenon poisining", whereby a noble gas accumulates and slows the reaction even more.

      •  read the diary again (0+ / 0-)

        70% refers to the percent of procedures and safeguards in place, not the power levels.  

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:10:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good grief, faith isn't science. (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino, elfling, Joieau, JesseCW, Loonesta, jm214

      Superquakes:

      Tohoku, Japan in 2011, Sumatra in 2004 and Chile in 1960 — all of magnitude 9.0 or greater — should not have happened, according to seismologist's theories of earthquake cycles. And that might mean earthquake prediction needs an overhaul, some researchers say.
      In other words, reality has proven that the theories of the infant science of geology -- we've had direct disciplined observation for 200 of the earth's 4,000,000,000 years in existence, the rest is surmise -- are wanting. Every plant on earth can be subject to much greater earthquakes than thought when they were built. Add in the changes from massive ice melts and redistribution of weight.... nobody knows the limits; nobody can tell the future. Maybe if you have an ouija board, but not with a slide rule nor even a computer simulation.

      And thus, potential ground acceleration again has no true estimates even possible at this stage.

      A plant in operation is vulnerable to the inherent dangers regardless of its degree of operation. 70%, 20%, 100%, if your cooling systems fail, they've failed. If your emergency backups fail, they've failed. The core is still the core, and behaves as such.

      Finally, people in the control rooms at Fukushima say the plants' safety systems were broken by the quake itself, before the tsunami waters arrived. Inside the plant and the water takeup pumps on the ocean. And, far from the epicenter, the quake was felt locally as a 6.

      If the tsunami had not followed, there would still have been the meltdowns.

      And you might remember the officials, and the various nuke-advocates, were insisting that no melt down had occurred, two, four, and even six months after they had. And the authorities knew that within 48 hours of the quake, though they lied.

      In short, there is nothing whatsoever known objectively about the potential of the strength of quakes in any given area, the ground acceleration potential from any quake, nor how to prevent a quake from inducing meltdowns, at any level of operation.

      The rest is professional confidence buoyed by hubris, and nothing else. It certainly has nothing to do with science.


      If Republicans said every 3rd person named "Smith" should hang, we'd bargain them to every 7th. Then we'll see apologia written praising this most pragmatic compromise. There's our losing formula.

      by Jim P on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 09:34:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have to agree, this one was a swing and miss... (0+ / 0-)

      It is difficult to take this diary seriously when the diarist is so willing to misrepresent some of the basic facts.

      It means that I have to call into question every assertion made (and I do that with each diary that plays fast and loose with the facts).

      Nuclear energy is certainly an issue worthy of discussion but we can do better than this.

      Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

      by Morgan Sandlin on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:29:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  for example? (0+ / 0-)

        got sources?  I'm curious what you are referring too (honestly).

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:12:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Misrepresentation? The lesson learned (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jm214, patbahn

      from Fukushima is that whenever a for-profit industry is involved, truth has a price.  A company can only tell the truth if it brings a profit; if it doesn't, then the company will lie to whatever extent maximizes its profit.  The price of truth is exactly zero yen, zero dollars, zero cents.  

      Tepco lied through its teeth about anything and everything having to do with its "safety" plans, and there is absolutely ZERO reason to think that plant operators in the U.S. are any different.  

      Tepco also wormed its way into Japanese governance and regulatory structures, and there is absolutely ZERO reason to think that the NRC has not been similarly compromised.  

      "100% Safety Plan," when it comes from the mouth of anyone in modern industry or the governance structures it infiltrates, means 100% total shit in a flaming paper bag on your front doorstep.  But just to keep the math straight, 70% still means 100% shit, and in the same flaming paper bag, no less.  

      I write this only after having followed much of the detailed coverage written in the Asahi and Yomiuri newspapers in the months after the disaster, when the doors were open enough for reporters to ask questions.  Those doors are now mostly shut.  

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site