More Unusual Tube Wear Found at San Onofre Nuclear Plant

Categories: Environment
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Southern California Edison, operator of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), announced more unusual wear has been discovered on steam-generator tubes in the Unit 2 reactor and that it's consistent with the degradation that has left Unit 3 closed since January. While such wear is typical over the life of steam generators, the discoveries are distressing because the tubes are only two years old.

Edison says the latest finds were in two spots on Unit 2 tubes, and that it's too early to draw any conclusions from the unusual wear. Both reactors remain offline until the cause is discovered and remedies satisfy the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Among the questions the power company must answer is why the wear was more extensive in Unit 3, which had been online for a shorter time than Unit 2.

The steam generators were manufactured in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Because the reactors will be offline heading into the summer, when more power is consumed in Southern California, authorities are scrambling for alternative sources that include bringing the AES plant in Huntington Beach back online.


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4 comments
johngeesman
johngeesman

 Why did it take so long for this tube-on-tube degradation in Unit 2 to become public? And only after NRC Chairman Jaczko and Congressman Issa had been put in the embarrassing position of suggesting that Unit 2 could be on a fast track for restart?

Unit 2 was down for maintenance when Unit 3's leak caused it to shut down on January 31, and the media reported on February 2: But the OC Register reported on February 2 the following: “ 'They have inspected 80 percent of the tubes in one of the steam generators at unit 2,' said Victor Dricks, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 'Two of the tubes have thinning so extensive that they need to be plugged and taken out of service. Sixty nine other tubes have thinning greater than 20 percent of the wall thickness, and a larger number have thinning greater than 10 percent of wall thickness.' The tubes with 10 percent thinning number more than 800, he said."

After more than 10 weeks, when do we get the scorecard for each of the two SG's in Unit 2 and each of the two SG's in Unit 3?

Certainly Edison International CEO Ted Craver knows the first rule of crisis management is get the information out there quickly and accurately, then live with the consequences. Very bad form, Ted.

JDen10
JDen10

From what I understand, the wear and tear on the tubes was caused by hooking up incompatable componants. This incompatability caused additional stress and vibrations that wore the tubes out at a much greater speed. This was all done without informing the NRC and it appears that it was specifically hidden from them. Has there been any follow-up from the NRC on these allegations?

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

The more important issue is moving the spent fuel away from here.  

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