SanO Nuclear Plant Down

by on February 2, 2012

The San Onofre Nuclear Plant has been idle since Tuesday afternoon when a potential leak was discovered in one unit.  The other unit was already offline for maintenance and refueling.

Edison said the possible leak and small radiation leak created no safety threats and that ample power reserves existed to cover electric demand. The Company did not report when Tuesday’s problem would be fully diagnosed and repaired. 

During maintenance on the other reactor a large number of tubes were found to have advance wear, according to the LA Times. Edison is still analyzing the premature wear to determine which tubes would require repair or replacement.


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie Tully February 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

The reports are conflicting. I hear “possible leak,” then “small amount detected.” What on earth are they doing and what kind of fools do they take us as being? Did they measure radiation or not? This in and of itself is a paramount question for the public to ask. If their story doesn’t line up then how can we trust ANYTHING they say? I hope the whistle blowers at SanO are awake on this issue and I hope that we the public wake up and detect the real danger. Let’s find a safe source of power and shut SanO down. Please sign the petition to get the initiative on the upcoming ballot. You can help save Southern CA from the devistating effects of a nuclear disaster at

Don Stout February 2, 2012 at 8:54 pm

San Onofre supplies about 20% of southern California’s power — low cost, clean, base load power. Because of all of the environmental and now global warming regulations in CA, our power rates are currently more than 50% above the national average, making us increasingly uncompetitive with other states for attracting businesses offering good middle class jobs. Where, exactly, would we “find” this “safe source of power”, and how, exactly, could we replace 1/5 of our electricity at anything close to the cost of San Onofre power? Shutting down San Onofre will do two things — ensure that our supply is far more inadequate than it is now, and ensure that our already high rates are even more uncompetitive.

Joe Holtzman February 3, 2012 at 5:05 am

Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Generation station is, and continues to be problematic. See:

At a recent San Clemente City Council meeting data was presented showing that this facility has the worst record of problems of all of the United States nuclear plants. There have been three plant managers in less than six years at this facility. Problems continue even though management keeps changing. Many employees have reported problems, and have suffered intimidation by Edison management.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission even issued letters warning Edision about the lack of safety, and noncompliance with processes, at the San Onofre operations.

Six million people live within the Southern California region. It is time to follow what Germany is doing, and what France is now considering and shut down these problematic nuclear generation stations.

Julie Tully February 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Re Stout: The following is a cut and paste from Edison’s website, “San Onofre provides less than 7% of California’s baseload electric power.” Furthermore, the OC Register reported today, “Although both of San Onofre’s reactor units are now offline, with no word on how soon unit 3 can be restarted, [Edison spokesperson Gil] Alexander said Edison has “ample reserve power” to supply customers.”

There is no reason to put So Cal residents in harm’s way when there are safe alternatives. The stakes are too great not to decommission San Onofre. This small accident is only proof that accidents and only time will tell the magnitude of futures one’s. Let’s stop it from ever happening to our families here at home. Make a positive difference and be part of the solution

Donna Gilmore February 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Edison says they have ample reserve power with San Onofre shutdown. For information on why we don’t need San Onofre, click here.

Why are we risking our health, our food supply, our homes, businesses and financial future for an old nuclear plant we don’t need? Please sign the California Nuclear Initiative petition today. We need to get this initiative on the ballot so we can vote in November to shutdown unnecessary nuclear plants.

Please share this critical information.

Don Stout February 3, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Julie Tully: Nuclear is 19% of SCE’s baseload power. Your quote of 7% is for ALL OF CALIFORNIA!

Donna Gilmore: It’s February, for goodness sake. We only use about half the electricity in February as we use in the summer, because of air conditioning. California already imports over 1/3 of its power requirements on peak summer days. Without San Onofre, it would be at least half, if out-of-state power in that quantity were even available. We would be making up the difference with dirty peaker plants, at worst environmental cost and incredibly higher operating cost.

Notice how the anti-nukes don’t bother to explain how we would replace the power San Onofre generates, particularly given the opposition environmentalists raise even to supposedly environmentally sound solar and wind generating plants. And they don’t seem to care at all about good, middle class manufacturing jobs, which require reasonably priced power.

Oh, and by the way, in addition to supplying 19% of SCE’s power, San Onofre supplies a full 25% of SDGE’s power.

When these activists ask you to sign their petitions, don’t sign until they HONESTLY explain how you are going to know that your home and business are going to have a reliable, secure source of electricity, at substantially the same or lower cost, after they get their way and San Onofre is just a big dead concrete albatross on the beach in San Clemente. Ask them for information, and don’t accept platitudes. Jobs and the economic well being of the community are at stake.

Gene Stone February 4, 2012 at 7:12 am

There is a very serious problem going on at San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station but all we hear from SCE & NRC is the same old story. They always say “everything is safe, very little if any radioactivity was released,”you will be fine continue to shop”. But the fact is the only people monitoring the release of radioactivity is SCE and they will not release the information to the public. So we the citizens have no idea how much was released & for how long. All of these things affect the quality of life for those of us in our community-health and property values.

What we the citizens of want to know is, where is the monitoring system in real time so we know what was released and for how long. SCE knows but will not release the information. Where is the monitoring system that the citizens deserve after living near SONGS periodically releasing highly radioactive materials on an ongoing basis all of these years? Why haven’t the cities, Orange County government and the state of California seen fit to monitor the ongoing release of radioactivity from this plant? Why isn’t there an epidemiology study to find out what the effect of these many releases over the years done to our community? Are the city officials & county government officials an the state of California and the NRC not aware of the recent study around France’s nuclear power plants found a alarmingly high rate of childhood leukemia within a 25 mile radius?

Finally it is time for a change, it is time for the STATES to QUESTION the AUTHORITY of the NRC and its supremacy of all things nuclear. It is not 1950 any longer. The states and the citizens themselves are now much better informed about the effects of living with radiation, ask the people of Chernobyl and Fukushima Japan.

Debra Twardowski February 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I would rather sit in the dark than be nuked.

Joe Holtzman February 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Mr Stout should read all the details supplied by Donna.

Also note Edison refused to connect to a very ready source of solar power. This is also supplied in the details as provided by Donna.

Now note this–I have solar and have had it for three years. It supplies all of my, and my family’s needs. I also supply excess energy to the grid which I am given 3.5 cents per KWH hour by Edison. Edison promptly turns around and sell my excess for anywhere from 17.3 cents per KWH to 34 cents per KWH. Another extortion of the rate payer I would say.

We do not need SONGS, it can and should be replaced now.

And to be totally accurate, right now San Onofre provides 0% of of the nuclear energy supply.

However, regardless of the percentage, I think it would be better to focus the discussion on “why do we need San Onofre at all?” There have been no blackouts due to San Onofre shutdowns. Even in hot weather. Ben Davis Jr. (California Nuclear Initiative author) has been attempting to find written documentation supporting “blackouts might occur”, but we don’t think that documentation exists because we don’t think it’s true. So far none of the regulatory agencies have been able to provide documentation to substantiate there may be blackouts. See the CNI Fact sheet for details. This is one of the handouts we share when gathering petition signatures.

Another important discussion issue is “why are SCE and SDG&E obstructing solar projects?” Here are two examples:

Millions of dollars in renewable energy projects intended to provide power to facilities in California’s national parks and forests have been sitting idle for years because of Southern California Edison. They are ready to be connected to the grid, but SCE is refusing to do that….

San Diego Gas & Electric wants to add a monthly ‘network use charge’ for tapping into its distribution grid. Customers who use [solar power] would pay about $22 more per month, according to estimates by SDG&E. Schools and water districts that use solar power could pay thousands of dollars more per month, though SDG&E representatives said those estimates are still being calculated. See San Onofre Safety for details.

One more important discussion issue: Southern California Edison has refused to provide a backup plan for San Onofre — in case it must shutdown for an unplanned emergency or for preparing for license expiration and decommissioning. Information on this topic is here.

Torgen Johnson February 5, 2012 at 11:33 am

Re Don Stout: Notice how the pro-nukes don’t bother to explain how we would replace Southern California if a nuclear disaster at San Onofre creates an abandoned, economically dead exclusion zone the size of that now seen in Fukushima Japan.

I am not an anti-nuker, I am a community building Harvard trained planner that sees the immense danger of San Onofre despite the misinformation spread by the nuclear industry.

Julie Tully February 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Debra T’s comment bears repeating to those who don’t seem to get it. The devastation and long term effects of a nuclear disaster would be horrifying to all. Fotunately there are viable alternatives but even if there weren’t I agree … “I would rather sit in the dark than be nuked.”

Plus my husband and I enjoy solar power and our $1.78 power bill we receive every month. We also enjoy the annual check Edison pays us for excess power we produce. Solar is safe and sure. SanO is dangerous to the public. It was a mistake to build and it needs to be corrected. Make the good and right decision to Go Green Southern California. Stop the disaster from ever happening.

Bert Moldow February 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Don Stout is under the illusion that nuclear power is cheap.

When we add in the O&M costs and the cost of security required one has to wonder why we think nuclear power is cheap. We are currently spending well over a billion dollars on the latest upgrades to the plant. We the consumer are paying for this. We also pay for the future decommissioning cost. We are truly fortunate that the government laid out $2.3 billion dollars to pay for the plant when it was built back in 1982.

Then we are facing a future cost to the consumer of $2.5 billion dollars in today’s dollars for water towers to comply with CA law. The CA water Commission has given SCE until 2022 to reduce the amount of cooling water extracted from the ocean to 5% of the billions of gallons a day they drew today. Wouldn’t it be wiser to invest in alternative energies like fuel cells which not only generate electricity but also produce water as a by-product when water in CA will be getting more expensive. One 5KW fuel cell produces 700 gallons of distilled water a day. Of course solar and wind are also viable options. In CA in 2012 we will be adding over a gigawatt of solar energy. We could do even better.

We should not also forget that we have barely tapped the savings available through conservation.

Joe Holtzman February 10, 2012 at 3:31 am

One more note for Don Stout–

California has so much excess electricity-generating capacity, the shutdown of San Onofre Nuclear power plant last week had no impact on wholesale electricity prices, data from the California Independent System Operator showed.

California has a huge amount of gas plant capacity that’s not running at any time during the day. Idling natural gas-fired turbines stepped up to meet the current demand.

Many Californians probably remember high power prices in 2001 and 2002 that led to rolling brownouts across the state. Since then, developers built generators that added thousands of megawatts of local capacity to the grid, and that power has been augmented in recent years by the construction of huge wind and solar.

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