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Citizens Urge Temecula to Take Stance on San Onofre Nuclear Reactor

A number of public speakers on Tuesday urged Temecula City Council to consider adopting a resolution against the proposed restart of a reactor at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Due to the proximity of Temecula to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a number of public speakers on Tuesday asked Temecula City Council to take a formal stance on the proposed restart of one of the plant's reactors until its operator undergoes a rigorous license amendment process.

The nuclear plant near Camp Pendleton in coastal, northern San Diego County was shut down nearly one year ago after a small leak was discovered coming from a steam pressure tube in one of the reactors, called Unit 3. The other reactor, Unit 2, was not operating at the time due to scheduled maintenance.

Neither unit has returned to service, but plant operator Southern California Edison has proposed restarting Unit 2.

Opponents of restart plans said Edison should go through a license amendment process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because the steam generators that failed were of a different design than their predecessors. The generators were replaced two years ago, and it was discovered that vibration was causing the tubes to wear faster than expected.

Solana Beach resident Torgen Johnson implored Temecula City Council to adopt a resolution opposing the restart. The sample resolution is being presented to cities and school districts throughout coastal Southern California.

"Right now we have a nuclear generating system that has some serious mechanical problems," said Johnson, who is of the opinion the reactor as it is now is capable of causing a nuclear disaster equal to the one following the Japan earthquake in March 2011.

"You are 24 miles downwind of San Onofre," Johnson said. "Many other cities have taken a stance on this issue."

The same draft resolution was presented to the Temecula Valley Unified School District on Tuesday, he said.

The San Diego Unified School District approved its own resolution with a 4-1 vote Tuesday, he added. The resolution said: "the San Diego Unified School District believes restarting the defective Unit 2 nuclear reactor at San Onofre will have profound impacts on our children in San Diego Unified and the surrounding communities in the event of a nuclear accident regarding radiation contamination of air, water and food, evacuation plans, and long term viability of life in Southern California."

Johnson urged Temecula City Council to consider its evacuation plan should a nuclear disaster occur.

Ace Hoffman of Carlsbad told city officials he is among those who have been watching San Onofre "pretty carefully for about 20 years."

"...Nowhere else in the industry have they had failures they way we have," Hoffman said.

While some made the commute from northern San Diego County to speak at the meeting, one speaker, Kevin Higgins, said he was a Temecula real estate agent.

"San Onofre has the same conditions that caused the Japan (disaster)," Higgins said. "...A nuclear accident could be beyond anything we could handle here in Temecula...That would amount to personal and financial ruin for many of us. The city of Temecula is far too special to let it be ruined by a serious accident at San Onofre."

Meanwhile, the resolution approved Tuesday by San Diego Unified also expressed support for a California Public Utilities Commission investigation into the reliability and costs of the plant, especially compared to alternative energy sources.

"Before restarting the nuclear reactor, San Onofre should undergo a rigorous and transparent public review of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing amendment process," said SDUSD Board Member Kevin Beiser, who was among those who introduced the resolution. "We must make certain that before restarting San Onofre nuclear power plant, it is safe for our community and our kids."

Chris Abel, community outreach manager for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, urged the San Diego Unified board to postpone action until SCE could better inform them.

"We have said from the beginning, as has the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that we will not restart Unit 2 or Unit 3 until both us and the NRC has deemed that is safe to do so -- in other words, there is no time line on its safety," Abel said.

Abel offered board members a briefing and invited them to visit the plant "to understand the rigorous regulatory process by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well as the current situation at SONGS, especially as it relates to greater liability and clean air."

Following the public comments made in Temecula, Mayor Mike Naggar directed City Manager Aaron Adams to assign a staff member to look into what is going on with the plant and report back to City Council. He also asked for a copy of the draft resolution.

"If it is everything (the public speakers) say...at least we should support that or at least make preparations for it," Naggar said.

—Maggie Avants and City News Service contributed to this report

Jerry Simeon January 25, 2013 at 03:07 AM
San O' was a combined San Diego and Sce effort. SD couldn't manage it, so SCE took it over some years ago after firing the management. You are blaming the wrong people for inheriting whatever problems and expenditures that need to be shouldered. There is no end to the regulations and problems created by the SEC, Feds and Naysayers.
Jerry Simeon January 25, 2013 at 03:08 AM
San O' was a combined San Diego and Sce effort. SD couldn't manage it, so SCE took it over some years ago after firing the management. You are blaming the wrong people for inheriting whatever problems and expenditures that need to be shouldered. There is no end to the regulations and problems created by the SEC, Feds and Naysayers.
Jerry Simeon January 25, 2013 at 03:10 AM
SCE has never operated this facility at full power. It was used mostly to make up peak power demands.
Jerry Simeon January 25, 2013 at 03:11 AM
Total BS, dude.
Stanley January 25, 2013 at 03:38 AM
When did the GOP become the party of anti-science and ignorance?
William January 25, 2013 at 05:15 AM
@Mr. Dee Here is information on your first source better check others... http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/forum/218/who-behind-enenews.2011-06-14
julian January 25, 2013 at 05:35 AM
It's not worth the risk in my opinion. Especially after what happened in Japan, it's not very difficult to imagine that such an event is not just possible but maybe inevitable. A radiation plume would reach over those hills and spread radio active isotopes on our valley. The reactor isn't as isolated as it once was.
Michele Meyers Lloyd January 25, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Far too many people giving way too much advise about a topic that they truly know absolutly nothing about.
Shelley Goodwin January 25, 2013 at 10:22 PM
@CaptD, I may be biased but I can point out one obvious benefit of pushing for solar and wind over nuclear: No one has ever heard of a solar or wind meltdown ;-)
Jerry Simeon January 26, 2013 at 03:13 AM
I worked in the engineering office for the company and organized all employee activities for years. I also worked on the substations and have brothers and family at SCE who worked in areas related and directly to San O and other substations throughout the system.
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Ha Ha Ha I wonder Why? Anybody notice the $1 Billion Dollar Debacle at SanO that rate payeres are still paying $54 Million a month for?
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 06:52 PM
At Jerry Simon In what way? BTW: What does dude mean?
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 06:59 PM
William Your premise that people need "background" is faulty... The Japanese have plenty of world class nuclear engineers and they ALSO have a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster... 1. Fukushima was caused by Nuclear Denial* 2. The estimated tsunami/earthquake death tally is posted on the web. 3. The damage to the health of the Japanese has not been determined yet, but many Health Professionals both in Japan and elsewhere think the numbers will be huge. * http://is.gd/XPjMd0 The illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365! SoCal will install ever more Solar (of all flavors) and each day we need a nuclear reactor less and less, cost of electricity is paid by the ratepayers who will be very happy to start by getting over a Billion dollars refunded because of Edison's faulty in-house designed replacement steam generators that we supposed to last 198 years but failed before one was a year old and the other less than 2 years...
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Speak for your self and learn from the rest...
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 07:04 PM
To: Jerry Simeon The employees you mention had no say in the faulty design of the replacement steam generators and believe me all of them are just at risk of a nuclear accident or worse a nuclear accident if SanO suffers a failure that they have no control over... This issue is about far more than job security, it is about preventing a nuclear disaster in SoCal...
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 07:06 PM
At Jerry Simeon Not factual... SanO actually got a "up-rate" from the NRC to generate even more power, which is part of the reason that the original steam generators started failing prematurely; but that is a much different story!
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Agreed! As ever more rate payers find out that they are being charged $54 Million a month, the CPUC will have to start paying attention to the public they are supposed to be "serving". More here: Edison, SDGE want secrecy in San Onofre dealings http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/news-ticker/2013/jan/14/edison-sdge-want-secrecy-in-san-onofre-dealings/#c137792
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Ha Ha Ha Tell that to the Japanese who now have a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster to deal with and the fallout is even coming to the USA for US to enjoy! Nuclear is old school and the Tax benefits that made them so popular with Utilities are starting to go away which makes new nuclear a poor investment except perhaps in the Deep South where the political system is RUN by their Utilities...
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 07:19 PM
You better start getting more informed, the reason that SoCal has this 1.3Billion dollar problem is because Edison did not get a review of their in-house designed RSG in the first place... They have been putting profits in front of Safety for far too long...
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 07:23 PM
At Shelly G. The RISK of using already damaged steam generators (that already have more damage than the rest of the US nuclear fleet combined), makes keeping SanO shut down a N☢ Brainer, unless you are receiving some form of Nuclear Payback*... * http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Nuclear+payback Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other "costs" are for others.
CaptD January 26, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Regarding the poorly designed steam generator tubes that failed at SanO: This is the first time in the US Nuclear Fleet that what Dr. Joram Hopenfeld, (who also retired from the NRC staff) first described (what we now call the Hopenfeld Effect) as a cascade of SG tube failures, has actually been observed in a Steam Generator (See Response to NRR RAI -32 – Technical ==> Attachment 3 https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0BweZ3c0aFXcFZGpvRlo4aXJCT2s/edit?docId=0BweZ3c0aFXcFX05DMWxKNmZXUTA). snip “The concerns raised by Dr. Hopenfeld are extremely important safety issues. As the ACRS stated: • Steam generators constitute more than 50% of the surface area of the primary pressure boundary in a pressurized water reactor. • Unlike other parts of the reactor pressure boundary, the barrier to fission product release provided by the steam generator tubes is not reinforced by the reactor containment as an additional barrier.” • Leakage of primary coolant through openings in the steam generator tubes could deplete the inventory of water available for the long-term cooling of the core in the event of an accident.
Michele Meyers Lloyd January 26, 2013 at 10:13 PM
I agree with you Jerry, my husband has been a laborer there for 15 years. He along with hundreds of others have lost their jobs over this nonsense. The construction surrounding the reactors in Japan was nothing like what we have here at San Onofre. There's no comparison between the two. Yes adding the extra tubes to the new steam generator was a bad call for Edison, but the leakage that has occured as a result is so small, and was detected so quickly. Lets get these employees back to work, so that they can fix the problem. I don't think that people have any clue the amount of costs that they will absorb on their bills, but they will very soon! Even if solar, or wind energy was a better means of electricity, you cannot stop our prime source of energy before you have even laid a groundwork for a new one!
Jerry Simeon January 27, 2013 at 07:01 PM
You don't have a clue and are leading the blind with your gibberish. SCE supported this project and SDG&E was the original owner. SCE had to take it over. The biggest problem with this design and operation is the regulatory bodies and public standing in the way of improvements for years. I am not a proponent of THIS type of nuclear power, but it is what it is. SO, "cut off your nose to spite your face" when you have nothing to replace it except unreliable Arizona power?
Jerry Simeon January 27, 2013 at 07:06 PM
CaptD is a liar. This is not SCE designed. Follow up on your BS and find out what Edison International is doing in the rest of the world... including this area of the state.
CaptD January 27, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Your comment about the leakage shows that you don't understand just how fragile these now very worn steam generator tubes are... Would you start a cross country trip with badly worn tires? Job security is one thing but shooting craps with a nuclear disaster is another!
CaptD January 27, 2013 at 09:51 PM
At Jerry S. Your comment is not factual! Partners: Southern California Edison, 78.21 percent San Diego Gas & Electric, 20 percent The City of Riverside, 1.79 percent Source: http://edison.com/ourcompany/sce.asp?id=2082 ... BTW: Bothe SDG&E and Riverside were against rebuilding the steam generators that SCE designed in-house to AVOID a lengthy NRC review called a 50.59, which would have probably identified their poor design and saved ratepayers 1.2 Billion Dollars!
CaptD January 27, 2013 at 09:58 PM
At Jerry S, Your comment is not factual! (Especially compared to you) I am steam generator expert and have written papers to prove it! SanO's basic problem is that SCE tried to design the steam generators themselves and their designers made basic engineering mistakes which makes using the steam generators dangerous! Now the internal steam generator tubes are all fatigued and SCE has not even visually examined all of the (almost 10,000 per steam generator) yet they want to fire up Unit 2 and see what happens! N☢ Thanks... BTW: We made it all lst year just fine and everyday ever more Solar (of all flavors) is being installed which makes the need for Sano less every day! 2013 is the year to decommission San☢...
Jerry Simeon January 28, 2013 at 06:13 PM
CaptD why do you insist on sounding like you have first-hand (BS) knowledge about these units when there are people who have been closely working R&D, engineering, construction, and maintenance with this system as I've mentioned?? If you have written papers on problems (not difficult), what are you offering besides ridiculous, ineffective energy sources that will not meet or sustain a grid the size of southern California, U.S. and possibly Mexico??
Jerry Simeon January 28, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Oh CaptD, so you are better equipped to tell one of The largest Public Utilities in the nation and in California with expertise at their disposal that you can only imagine that only produces one thing... electric power.... they're too ignorant to know of other energy sources and nuclear resources?? What a joke.
TVOR January 30, 2013 at 08:30 PM
I suggest folks do some reading of Popular Mechanics and Popular Scince articles from the past few years. Nuclear energy is in fact much safer and cleaner than any other know source with the latest technology.

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