[UPDATED with Radiation Report OK'd:] Water Leak Shuts Down San Onofre Nuke Unit

Categories: Environment
UPDATE, FEB. 23, 10:01 A.M.: The San Clemente City Council is to receive a staff report March 20 that should help city leaders decide whether more radiation monitoring should be done in the town 2 miles from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

Some residents have called for stepped-up checks in light of a recent leak, mishaps and degraded equipment reported at the Southern California Edison-operated nuclear power facility.

The council Tuesday night directed staff to detail in the pending report what kind of monitoring is done now in San Clemente.

And now for this that just popped into my head: SCE says not enough radiation leaked recently to be a health concern for people. Other officials say radiation from Japan's meltdown settled in Southern California but also poses no threat. How about when you combine both incidents?

I suspect the answer will be it's still negligible, less than you'd encounter washing your dog on a sunny day. Ah, well, free X-rays for all! 

UPDATE, FEB. 14, 9:55 P.M.: Know how it's going to be weeks before toxicology reports are in on Whitney Houston? Perhaps the same type of science-is-hard explanation accounts for the delay between November's ammonia leak at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) and government regulators just now coming out with a report blaming plant employees with failing to recognize degraded equipment. Not that such an excuse is comforting given the other recent leak, mishaps and degraded equipment reported at the Southern California Edison-operated nuclear power facility just south of Orange County.

"The failure to take adequate corrective actions for degraded plant equipment was a performance deficiency," according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) findings that deemed the deficiency "more than minor" because an emergency alert was issued.

It's also fair to note that the same report labels the actual problem that needed to be better corrected a "very low safety significance" that posed no danger to the public, although some workers were evacuated.

Critics, of course, want all such problems, evacuations and alerts passed along to the public, especially in places like San Clemente that hug up next to the plant. At least they can take solace in figuring the NRC will get to the bottom of this month's incidents . . . a few months from now.

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UPDATE, FEB. 8, 5:59 P.M.: U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) has sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) seeking a comprehensive safety review of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in light of the recent leaks and mishaps at the plant. "I ask the NRC to thoroughly assess the conditions at the San Onofre plant to determine what further investigation and action is required at this time, and whether similar actions may be needed at other nuclear facilities," reads Boxer's letter to NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko.

Besides leaks in tubes that led to the recent shutdown of Unit 3, which may have prompted radiation to seap into the atmosphere, as well as the subsequent inspection and discovery of unusual wear to similar tubes at Unit 2, which was closed for maintenance, Boxer's letter cited a SONGS worker falling into a pool of water laced with a small amount of radiation. It is feared the worker accidentally consumed some of that water, although he did not get sick.

She could have also brought up this event we reported last November:


Boxer is not alone in her worries about SONGS, as residents in adjacent San Clemente asked their City Council this week to install sensors around town to monitor radiation levels.
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33 comments
garyneece
garyneece

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King Neece

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Bill T.
Bill T.

This latest info doesn't exactly instill a high level of confidence in SCE's periodic (peridiotic?) inspection and maintenance peocess.

Briansays
Briansays

can want for all the far right trolls denouncing boxer and all government regulation to show up

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Senator Boxer sent a letter!  Oooooooooooooooooooo!  Foking joke.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

On the chance that there's one or maybe two people left in the world that hasn't seen the devastation left by the Chernobyl nuclear accident, I submit for your perusal:  http://kiddofspeed.com/

Bob Squalonero
Bob Squalonero

"'Extremely small' radiation leak.....not pose a danger to anyone"?  Really?!

When I used to go swimming as a kid at a public pool, I remember whenever one of the smaller kids would take a "SMALL LEAK" in the pool, all of us would bail out of that pool faster than anyone could say "San Onofre" (mind you, the pool water was chlorinated)!

Now we're being told that the radiation (way more dangerous than anyone's pee), that leaked out of San Onofre is not a hazard to anyone!

Yeah, right!

Butterfly
Butterfly

So, should we NOT surf there for a while? Or what ...

Bill T.
Bill T.

The statement that a very small amount of radiation was released is reasonable given that it was steam generation water that was vented. This water is segregated from the (radioactive) fluid used to extract heat from the core (water in this design), by a heat exchanger that is shielded for radiation. Heat passes through the shield, Essentially no radiation passes through. See the wiki article on Pressurized Water Reactors for a good schematic of the design.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Fuck these guys.  I'm ordering my own Geiger Counter Kit from Maker Shed. 

Arome7
Arome7

AP now reporting it may have released a "tiny" amount of radiation to the atmosphere.

909Jeff
909Jeff

You don't have to be far right to denounce a wicked witch like Barbara (Call me senator I've earned it) Boxer... 

I'll start with she's not even Californian shes a GD new york limousine liberal who in 19 years in "alleged" service to the people of CA hasnt offered up any really meaningful legislation bearing her name except of course this... S.Res. 122: A resolution honoring the life and legacy of Elizabeth Taylor.

I'll vote for Dianne Feinstien... She's a good Californian... Not always aligned politically but I believe she has the best interest of our state at heart. Boxer is just a piece of crap!

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Yes, I know SONGS is a different type of reactor.  TY.

Bill T.
Bill T.

You're exposed to similar levels of radiation on a daily basis. Radioactive materials occur naturally (such as granitic rocks, check the geology of Southern Calif.). Being in a concrete cellar (for example) could expose you to much higher levels than we're talking about here.

jk
jk

maybe, but then what would account for the small release of radiation?

Bill T.
Bill T.

Your money would be better spent on a brake inspection, even assuming you regularly have them inspected.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Babs is a politician...I'm afraid they're all shysters and whores in one way or the other. I believe it's a symptom of our current political climate. Ergo, she's the kind of witch who ends up under houses...not the kind who arrive in pink bubbles to save the day! ;-)

909Jeff
909Jeff

I have to be honest your level of nuclear knowledge is kinda scary! 

Bill T.
Bill T.

1. It was reported as "extremely small".2. To completely eliminate all transfer of radioactivity between the primary and secondary loops is a physical impossibility, a negligible transfer is the goal.3. If there were significant transfer, the steam generation water would become increasingly radioactive over time, further transfering radioactivity to the power turbines and other equipment which would make it unsafe to work on those systems without protection. This would be detected by radiation monitoring before dangerous levels would be reached.

Bill T.
Bill T.

No prob, lemme do the cooking!

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Promises, promises ;-)

BTW...Jeff and I like to kid each other...he's not serious...besides, I wouldn't recommend anyone letting me anywhere near a kitchen unless they had good fire insurance...:-D

Streets
Streets

I am also an Independent.......Ahhhhh Jeff starting shit with the fems...........I will take Fish over anyone from the 909 in a bare-knuckle scrap ......

909Jeff
909Jeff

Shut up and get back in the kitchen woman!  :-)

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Exactly. It's one of the main reasons I'm registered to vote as an "Independent". I'm not nearly as interested in party affiliation as I am in whether a candidate is pro-choice or not because even though both parties have sold the American people down the river I'm going to hold on to my right to choose!

Streets
Streets

Totally Agree Reps and Dems they're all crooks! 

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

I read at the OCR that he ingested some of the water.  D'oh. 

Bill T.
Bill T.

Actually, I enjoy a good argument, I don't take it personally just because someone disagrees with me. If they can cite reasons for disagreeing with me (other than my being an arrogant asshole, more and more true as I get older) I'll try to return the respect and give their thoughts consideration.

Take Street's response for example,  no actual statements about where I might be wrong, just some hand-waving. Doesn't deserve a second thought, let alone a direct response.

909Jeff
909Jeff

1) Wikipedia is not a terrible reference 2) Bill T is usually pretty legit (Except when we disagree then I dont like him) 

Bill, Just kidding on the second part of number 2... 

Streets
Streets

Not real knowledge, just frequent visits to Wiki......All the "I don't know shit" but I will make others think I do, do it................. :)  

Bill T.
Bill T.

It's about perceived risk as opposed to actual risk.  An example is the guy sitting next to you on the 747 taking off from LAX that's completely paralyzed and you know he just came screaming down the 405 at 78 mph 13 feet from the car in front of him.

Matt writes a straight-forward story, raising the question of risk as is his job, and people hear "nuclear leak" and assume the worst without looking into what the actual situation might be.

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