San Onofre inside source: keep it shut down

An employee still inside and a longtimer since retired both say the San Onofre nuclear reactor should stay shut down. Operator Southern California Edison says it’s safe to restart at 70% power, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission won’t show the public Socal Edison’s study about that. Which seems safest to you? Trust the operator that let it break in the first place, or keep it shut down?

JW August wrote for 25 April 2013, San Onofre insider says NRC should not allow nuclear restart: Team 10 speaks with former NRC employee, insider,

“There is something grossly wrong,” said the inside source, a safety engineer who worked at San Onofre and has 25 years in the nuclear field.

The source, who requested anonymity, is not alone in concerns over the safety San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

*Click here for a timeline of San Onofre incidents

The concerns stem from inside the concrete containment walls, which house steam generators unique to the plant.

Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) built replacement generators for the aging nuclear plant in 2010 and 2011.

“There were many, many changes,” said Dr. Joe Hopenfeld, a former employee of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). He described himself as pro-nuclear.

Hopenfeld spent his entire professional life working with steam generators and nuclear power. Though he lives in Maryland, he is familiar with San Onofre, which is run by Southern California Edison (SCE).

The new generators were designed to provide low cost power for decades. Instead, they shut it down in just eleven months because of a radiation leak.

“The manufacturer didn’t have experience in this size unit,” said Hopenfeld. “I have reviewed thousands of pages of assessment and reports that Edison has submitted.”

He says the 2011 radiation leak that shuttered the plant revealed a potentially catastrophic problem with the tubes that carry scalding water.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a very serious risk,” Hopenfeld said.

Socal Edison of course says everything will be safe. This is the same nuke operating company that knew San Onofre’s steam generators were flawed before it installed them. The TV station said NRC had offered no comment on the insider story. Well, here’s video of NRC failing to answer activists’ questions about the defective generators, and failing to show the public Socal Edison’s restart plan.

Here’s a petition to keep San Onofre shut down. And U-T San Diego has a poll.


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  1. Pingback: NRC tries to ignore hearing requirement for San Onofre nuke restart | On the LAKE front

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