Shutdown at San Onofre: permanent this time?

California only has a couple of nuclear reactor locations (unlike the 32 reactors within 500 miles of here), and one is in even worse shape than the other: San Onofre, almost as bad as Crystal River. I’m sure Southern Company would never cut corners or have design or construction problems at Plant Vogtle, right?

Harvey Wasserman wrote for AlterNet 7 January 2013, Showdown at San Onofre: Why the Nuclear Industry May Be Dealt a Big Blow,

Perched on an ocean cliff between Los Angeles and San Diego, the reactors’ owners cut unconscionable corners in replacing their multi-million-dollar steam generators. According to Russell Hoffman, one of California’s leading experts on San Onofre, inferior metals and major design failures turned what was meant to be an upgrade into an utter fiasco.

Installed by Mitsubishi, the generators simply did not work. When they were shut nearly a year ago, tubes were leaking, banging together and overall rendering further operations impossible.

Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric have unofficially thrown in the towel on Unit 3. But they’re lobbying hard to get at least Unit 2 back up and running. Their technical problems are so serious that they’ve asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to let them run Unit 2 at 70% capacity. In essence, they want to “see what happens” without daring to take the reactor to full power.

The NRC has expressed serious doubts. On December 26 it demanded answers to more than 30 questions about the plant’s technical realities. There have been assertions that unless San Onofre can be shown as operable at full power, its license should be negated.

It’s good the NRC got around to doing something, after it refused to show the public the licensee documents in which supposedly the licensees documented some experimental data.

When even Forbes wonders whether nuclear is a bad investment, why not solar and wind instead? That’s what TEPCO is doing instead of the broken Fukushima nuclear reactors.

There’s much more in the article, like this:

The only real reason San Onofre’s owners want to get it back up is to charge the ratepayers for their failed repairs.

In Georgia, Georgia Power is charging customers even before the new nukes are built, and can keep charging even if they’re cancelled! Unless we convince the legislature or the PSC to change that. Legislature’s in session right now!