Thursday, October 4, 2012

[SDCPJ] Press Release: Activists, Experts Astonished by San Onofre Restart Proposal; Event Oct 9

PRESS RELEASE AND MEDIA  ADVISORY

Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPS)
Ray Lutz / RayLutz@CitizensOversight.org  / 619-820-5321
http://ShutDownSanOnofre.org

Residents Organizing for a Safe Environment (ROSE)
Gene Stone / genston@sbcglobal.net / 949-233-7724

Peace Resource Center of San Diego
Carol Jahnkow / carolj@igc.org / 760-390-0775


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Activists, Experts Astonished by San Onofre Restart Proposal


NRC, Edison to Face Concerned Public at Oct 9 Meeting in Dana Point

Adjudicatory Hearings Demanded to Ensure Safety


EVENT DETAILS:

Event:             Rally / Press Conference
Date/Time:    Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 5pm.
Location:        St. Regis Monarch Bay Hotel, 1 Monarch Beach Resort North, Dana Point, CA 92629

Event:             NRC Meeting
Date/Time:    Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 6pm.
Location:         St. Regis Monarch Bay Hotel, 1 Monarch Beach Resort North, Dana Point, CA 92629


Oct 4, 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.

"The suggestion that the Unit 2 reactor can be restarted throws safety under the profit bus," said Carol Jahnkow of the Peace Resource Center of San Diego. "They are rushing to restart this unsafe reactor to keep the revenue stream flowing from rate-payers. Edison's safety plan to restart San Onofre is to watch for radiation leaks"

The public will rally and sponsor a press conference in opposition to continued operation of the San Onofre nuclear plant at 5:00 p.m., October 9, just prior to the 6:00 p.m. public meeting conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at the St. Regis Monarch Bay Hotel, 1 Monarch Beach Resort North, Dana Point, California.

The primary objective of citizen oversight groups is a set of adjudicatory hearings to unravel the mystery behind these failures and to guarantee that any operation will be safe, and the faulty regulatory oversight is corrected so such severe errors will not be made in the future.

A study [3] conducted by nuclear industry expert Dan Hirsch of the Committee to Bridge the Gap and a lecturer at University of California at Santa Cruz will be presented which clearly shows that all 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 only one refueling cycle while San Onofre has 1600 and 1800 tubes damaged in the Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors, respectively.

According to the presentation by Daniel Hirsch at the Sept. 24, 2012 Del Mar City Council meeting, 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.

"Running the steam generators at a lower power level -- as proposed by Edison -- may exacerbate the problem and result in another emergency that may be far worse this time," said Ray Lutz, an engineer with Citizens' Oversight.

The recent NRC Augmented Inspection Team report pointed out that "major design changes" in the steam generators (such as changes in the stay cylinder, tubesheet, tube support plates, and the shape of the tubes) were not considered changes that impacted safety because they were not explicitly mentioned in the "Updated Final Safety Analysis Report" (UFSAR). If they are not explicitly mentioned in the UFSAR, the NRC assumes the design can be changed without limit and still maintain safety. Unfortunately, these details were likely left out of the UFSAR because the original designers never contemplated that the steam generators would ever be replaced.

The NRC is faced with a fundamental problem in logic. On the one hand, we have steam generators that are obviously different because they started failing in 11 months while the old ones lasted for 25 years, and on the other hand, they are saying that there were no changes made that needed to be approved. You can't have both.

"Clearly, the steam generators were not like-for-like replacements. If the NRC still says there were no significant changes, then we know the regulatory agency has stopped regulating," Lutz said.

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. The decision to decommission could be made immediately, regardless of NRC processing and inquiries. Continuing the effort to restart the plant will either mean that NRC will look the other way and allow the unsafe plant to restart at reduced power, ignoring the fact that experts agree that this will likely only exacerbate the rattling steam generators, or spending a great deal of money to replace the steam generators once again, with no guarantee that these will work either.

The underlying agenda of SCE, the plant operator, was to "super-charge" the steam generators, essentially upgrading the plant to produce more power without NRC or public approval [1]. SCE Engineers admitted in January that they worked to avoid NRC approval of the changes. 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)" [2, emphasis added].

References:

[1] 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."

[2] 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.

[3] 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"


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

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