Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sayonara San Onofre

Well, this sucks:
Southern California Edison announced plans on Friday to shut down the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant.
SCE planned to permanently retire Units 2 and 3 at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), the utility said in a news release.
Unit 2 was taken out of service on January 9, 2012, for a planned routine outage.
Shortly thereafter, Unit 3 was taken offline on January 31, 2012, after a small leak was detected in a tube inside a steam generator.
Unexpected wear was found in the metal tubing that carries radioactive water in all four of the plant’s steam generators, two for each reactor.
SCE cited uncertainty surrounding a proposal to restart Unit 2, as well as costs, as the reasons for its decision.
It submitted a plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in October 2012 to restart Unit 2 at 70 percent capacity for an initial period of five months.
That plan has been under review ever since, and several public meetings have been held on the matter.
However, a recent ruling by an arm of the NRC created further uncertainty about when a decision would be made on the restart plan, SCE officials said.
Additional administrative processes and appeals could result in delay of more than a year, according to SCE.
During that time, the costs of maintaining San Onofre and the costs to replace the power it previously provided would continue.
The company decided that the continuing uncertainty was not good for customers or investors, Edison International Chairman and CEO Ted Carver said.
My very early years were spent in Toledo, so the very first nuclear power plant I ever saw was Davis-Besse. As we would drive by it within shouting distance of its cooling tower, I remember being mesmerized by that giant cooling tower and all the power lines, transformers and transmission towers going in to and our from the complex. I've always liked Davis-Besse for that reason. San Onofre, however, has a completely different design, one that has become famous for reasons unrelated to energy:

About to be busted: the San Onofre nuclear power plant. (
The first time I drove down the 5 to San Diego from Los Angeles and saw these ... things between the freeway and the Pacific, I had no idea what they were. They looked extraterrestrial. Then I remembered they had been shown in the movie Naked Gun. 

Southern California will suffer from the loss of generating capacity from San Onofre. My beloved adopted home of San Diego and Los Angeles will likely face brownouts and skyrocketing electric rates. Of course, when you refuse to build power plants, you can expect that.

1 comment:

  1. So good to put a desalination plant there instead! Yeah!!