Do nuclear reactors really deliver dependable baseload capacity?
I hear industry execs say 99.99% uptime.
The real average from seven years of NRC data for 104 reactors is 88.13%.
According to Power Reactor Status Reports
posted online by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
here are the actual percent power percentages over time
for the 104 listed nuclear power reactors.
The timeframe is 31 March 2006 through today, 21 May 2013.
(The NRC data appears to go back to 1999, but seven years
is a good sample to start with.)
The computation for each reactor is the sum of the uptime
percentages for each day divided by the number of days.
The total uptime is the sum of the reactor uptimes divided
by the number of reactors.
Here’s the list, sorted two ways:
The plant’s operator Southern California Edison had hoped at one
point to have one of the plant’s two units operating by summer, but
NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane made it clear that will not
Macfarlane told reporters Tuesday after a speech, “You know, the
process is very complicated now. Almost every day it gets a little
more complicated…. Right now I can tell you a decision on restart
won’t happen until the end of June, certainly after the middle of
“It may get pushed back later,” she said. “I don’t know.”
Maybe the ASLB was referring to some other NRC that should hold public
The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) agreed with Friends
of the Earth (FOE) when it ruled that
restarting either San Onofre unit requires a full public hearing
like a trial, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) interprets
that as having nothing to do with its own staff decision process.
This is after the city of Los Angeles (and numerous other
southern California cities and the San Diego Unified School District)
said it didn’t want any
decision about restarting any San Onofre reactor/ without a full,
transparent, public decision process.
The L.A. Times says all this is creating “confusion”.
Just last week I heard Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers say confusion
was bad for business.
Maybe it will be bad not just for Southern California Edison and its
San Onofre nukes, but also for Georgia Power and Southern Company’s
19-month-late and billion-over-budget nuclear boondoggle at Plant Vogtle.
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?
Last month former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair Jaczko
said all 104 operating U.S. nuclear power reactors are unsafe.
This month former Indian
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board Chair Gopalakrishnan
says the reactors currently building in India, already three years
behind schedule and now found to incorporate numerous defects and
deficiencies amid gross lack of transparency, must be stopped.
When will the NRC stop the restart of the flawed and non-transparent San Onofre 2?
When will the NRC or GA PSC or the GA legislature or even Southern Company
coming to its senses stop the 19-month-late $1-billion-overbudget
flawed-concrete Plant Vogtle 3 and 4 before they waste any more
of our resources that could be going to solar and wind jobs and energy?
On Monday, Southern California Edison announced it had formalized a
request to amend its operating license to allow it to operate its
Unit 2 reactor at 70 percent beginning June 1.
The reactor was undergoing scheduled maintenance in January 2012
when a small, non-injury leak was discovered in plant’s other
reactor. The plant has been shut down since.
According to Edison, vibrations that led to premature wearing of
steam pressure tubes in the reactors don’t occur at 70 percent
power. The utility wants to operate on limited power for the five
warm weather months and then shut down for an inspection of the
After the inspection, the reactor would resume operating at 70
percent power. The company said it would use the collected tube data
to determine an appropriate power setting for the long term.
In these video excerpts from the 4-3-2013 NRC webcast, informed
activists hammer the NRC staff and SoCal Edison reps with
penetrating comments and questions about apparently collusive
fast-track plans to restart one of San Onofre’s broken
reactors—in a tsunami and earthquake zone, in the middle of a
strategic U.S. military base, in a surrounding urban area with a
population of 8.5 million people—a plant that is not
cost-effective 99% of the time, operated by a utility with the worst
safety record in the country.
What could possibly go wrong?
Participants include Ace Hoffman, David Freeman, Kendra Ulrich, Dan
Hirsch, John Geesman, Ray Lutz, Gary Headrick and Myla Reson.