Friday, October 5, 2012

Edison rolls the nuclear dice

Posted Oct. 5, 2012 / Posted by: Kendra Ulrich
A dangerous gamble with the safety of Southern California

If you have ever been to Las Vegas, you’ve seen it: People so caught up in the excitement of the casino that they just can’t resist the lure of the next bet or the thought that maybe thistime they’ll win.
Unfortunately, it seems that San Onofre nuclear operator, Southern California Edison, has the same weak spot for a high-stakes gamble. In astunning announcement yesterday, the utility said that it plans to restart one of the crippled San Onofre nuclear reactors without any repairs. Edison argued that the Unit 2 nuclear reactor wasn’t quite as damaged as its twin, Unit 3, and so the bet was a bit safer. The utility promised it would slow down -- by 30 percent for at least five months. Edison promised it would be extra careful while playing this dangerous game. Edison pledged that it would stop -- for a little while at least -- in five months to check in on how it is doing.
But, the reality is that the move to restart Unit 2 amounts to turning Southern California into a giant game of craps, and if Edison loses this nuclear dice throw, it’s the 8.4 million people living within 50 miles of the San Onofre nuclear reactors who lose the most -- everything: health, homes, businesses -- an entire way of life.
You see, this isn’t the first time Edison has bet the safety of Southern California communities on its ability to win -- massive profits for itself -- with replacement equipment for these aging, dangerous nukes. In 2006, Edison gambled on being able to drastically alter its replacement steam generator design and side-step critical safety review by misrepresenting the changes to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission -- the federal agency charged with ensuring the safety of U.S. nuclear reactors. It thought it could get away with cheating the regulations. And it did, for a short time anyway.
On January 31, 2012, a radioactive leak in the Unit 3 reactor exposed just how badly Edison had lost: further inspections revealed that its redesigned steam generators were showing unprecedented levels of accelerated damage. Thousands of tubes were worn so thin or deemed at risk of this unexpected wear that they had to be plugged. In fact, of their kind, the San Onofre steam generators are the most damaged and defective in the history of the U.S. nuclear industry.
Now Edison wants to roll the nuclear dice again, this time with equipment they know is dangerously flawed. This is an unacceptable gamble with the safety of Southern California. We cannot allow that to happen.
Ten years ago, the NRC staff looked the other way and approved the drastically altered defective equipment under an inappropriate rubber-stamp process. It must step up now and hold Edison accountable to guaranteeing that the equipment is vetted by truly independent experts testifying before an impartial judge -- and that requires the full license amendment and public hearings that Edison should have been required to undergo 10 years ago.
Today, Friends of the Earth released a TV ad to inform Southern California of Edison's dangerous gamble. We urge citizens to call NRC Chairwoman Allison MacFarlane and ask that she immediately intervene. Edison’s corporate profits should not be wagered against the lives and livelihoods of Southern Californians.

We need you to take action right now!

Please make the call to NRC Chairwoman MacFarlane at 301-415-1750 and urge her to intervene and require that Edison be prevented from to restarting either reactor without a license amendment, public hearing, and the guarantee of public safety. Here is a suggested script for residents of California...
more / CALL > Friends of Earth | Blog

 more by Kendra Ulrich -  

Looking past the smoke and mirrors

Jul. 24, 2012

Exposing the truth behind the San Onofre AIT report

On July 18the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Augmented Inspection Team released its final report regarding the newly replaced, crippled steam generators in the San Onofre nuclear reactors. Both reactors at this Southern California Edison run nuclear plant -- located between San Diego and Los Angeles -- have been offline for nearly six months, following a tube failure in one of Unit 3’s steam generators and the release of radiation beyond the protective containment building...

Skeletons in the closet

Jul. 12, 2012

Leaked Edison document exposes San Onofre as worst in the nation

The crippled steam generators in the San Onofre nuclear reactors have earned the Southern California Edison run plant the dubious distinction as having  the most severely defective and damaged of all comparable equipment in the US nuclear industry, according to a recent report by Fairewinds Associates. The report analyses a leaked internal Edison document that reveals damage to thousands of tubes in the new steam generators of both reactors...

Friends of the Earth

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