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San Onofre nuclear plant problem worse than thought: report

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posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:47 PM
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San Onofre nuclear plant problem worse than thought: report


www.rawstory.com

“This reveals a far greater problem than has been previously disclosed, and raises serious questions about whether it is safe to restart either unit,” said Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear expert at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The new data shows that more than 3,400 steam generator tubes in the new steam generators at San Onofre have been found to be damaged — about 1,800 in Unit 3 and 1,600 in Unit 2 — he said.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:47 PM
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This is becoming all to familiar our 30yr old design limit on nuclear plants has come and passed for some and our energy infrastructure is due to fail.

why is it that these predictable disasters are being ignored and downplayed japan is in the middle of a disaster that could ruin their entire country and we worry for them while do nothing to protect our own land.

the scariest thing about the article is the fact that the NEW steam generator tubes are the ones that are damaged...

what caused the damage?

I dont think we should be so worried about the Iranian Nuclear program we should be much more worried about our own Privately owned and poorly operating plants on our own soil.

www.rawstory.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:50 PM
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Lovely. Nuclear power needs to go. Until we can properly dispose of nuclear waste, until we can properly respond to disasters etc etc.

Am I the only one that thought it said San Onfire nuclear plant?



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 12:53 PM
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They are in a mess aren't they? They absolutely needs the power that San Onofre and Diablo Canyon give California but what do they do? Old plants with old gear and check the EPA with their perfectly disaterous regulations. These plants probably can't change an exhaust fan without updating, replacing and generally refurbishing 10 other things at the same time to satisfy those regulations.
Even what can be easily updated and fixed isn't that easy thanks to Uncle Sammy... They are definitely in a pickle.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 01:10 PM
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Nuclear power needs to be redesigned. Instead of using 1% of uranium and creating large amount of nuclear waste, scientists have proposed new kind of nuclear plants that will use 99% of its nuclear fuel. Bill Gates talked about this in his Ted Talks about energy.


The idea of TerraPower is that, instead of burning a part of uranium -- the one percent, which is the U235 -- we decided, "Let's burn the 99 percent, the U238." It is kind of a crazy idea. In fact, people had talked about it for a long time, but they could never simulate properly whether it would work or not, and so it's through the advent of modern supercomputers that now you can simulate and see that, yes, with the right material's approach, this looks like it would work.

And, because you're burning that 99 percent, you have greatly improved cost profile. You actually burn up the waste, and you can actually use as fuel all the leftover waste from today's reactors. So, instead of worrying about them, you just take that. It's a great thing. It breathes this uranium as it goes along, so it's kind of like a candle. You can see it's a log there, often referred to as a traveling wave reactor. In terms of fuel, this really solves the problem. I've got a picture here of a place in Kentucky. This is the leftover, the 99 percent, where they've taken out the part they burn now, so it's called depleted uranium. That would power the U.S. for hundreds of years. And, simply by filtering seawater in an inexpensive process, you'd have enough fuel for the entire lifetime of the rest of the planet.


Source: Ted Talks - Bill Gates on energy: Innovating to zero!

Part about R&D in nuclear power starts at about 13. min into speech, but whole speech is well worth listening.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 01:37 PM
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One alarming problem here.

Those pipes are only 2 or 3 years old according to a story from May ....

Here is a story from Yahoo from May 8th 2012
Yahoo story -- Over 1,300 tubes damaged at Calif. nuclear plant

LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than 1,300 tubes that carry radioactive water inside the San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California are so damaged that they will be taken out of service, the utility that runs the plant said Tuesday.

The figures released by Southern California Edison are the latest disclosure in a probe of equipment problems that have kept the coastal plant sidelined for more than three months.

At issue has been the integrity of tubing that snakes through the plant's four steam generators, which were installed in a multimillion-dollar makeover in 2009 and 2010.


and a link to a thread from May 9th --> Over 1,300 Tubes Damaged at Calif. Nuclear Plant



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 01:47 PM
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Originally posted by -W1LL

why is it that these predictable disasters are being ignored and downplayed japan
is in the middle of a disaster


They sure do keep it all quiet on the homefront.

And another thing well of course so many of these plants are
on the Ocean...its just bound to happen one way or another!



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 03:46 PM
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SONGS [San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station] Update

www.edison.com/pressroom/hot_topics.asp?id=7886

--
July 13, 2012 12:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Southern California Edison Releases Steam Generator Tube Wear Data

www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120713005708/en/Southern-California-Edison-Releases-Steam-Generator-Tube


ROSEMEAD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Southern California Edison (SCE) has released steam generator tube wear data associated with the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The data show that most of the wear, or tube wall thinning, was less than 20 percent. This is far below the 35 percent wall-thinning limit, which would require that the tube be plugged. The majority of this wear is related to support structures. The nature of the support structure wear is not unusual in new steam generators and is part of the equipment settling in.

“We’re using this information and additional detailed data collected through testing to develop our repair plans according to best practices and industry standards, particularly the data on the unexpected tube-to-tube wear,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Pete Dietrich. “Safety continues to be the guiding principle behind all the work we are doing.”

The data include the various types of wear on the tubes and the number of tubes affected.

There were three major categories of wear: anti-vibration bar wear, tube support plate wear and tube-to-tube wear. Two minor categories of wear were also included: retainer bar wear and wear due to a foreign object. The foreign object wear, also not unusual in new steam generators, was only found in Unit 2 and was caused by a piece of welding material about the size of a quarter rubbing against two tubes.

In Unit 2, 1,595 tubes showed wear of some type and 510 tubes were ultimately plugged — six tubes for showing wear of more than 35 percent and the rest for preventative measures.

In Unit 3, 1,806 tubes showed wear of some type and 807 tubes were ultimately plugged — 381 tubes for wear of more than 35 percent and the rest for preventative measures.

The complete data for both units is available on the commission website for SONGS information: www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/songs/tube-degradation.html.

Both units of the plant are currently safely shut down for inspections, analysis and tests. Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in a steam generator tube. The units will remain shut down until SCE and the commission are satisfied that the units are safe to operate.

(...)

--
Special NRC Oversight at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station: Steam Generator Tube Degradation

www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/songs/tube-degradation.html



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 07:54 PM
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Who is making tubes these days??

In Victoria Australia, the state has a huge (unwanted billion dollar) de-salination plant which is still not completed the building stage as yet.
An inspection earlier this year found all the pipes they'd used had rusted out inside, EVEN BEFORE ITS BEEN USED!
All those pipes now need replacing...


There is so little quality in manufactured items these days, pump all the manufacturing jobs to the lowest bidder off-shore, believe their claims of same/better quality and you have a recipe for disaster. Add nuclear criticality to the mix, and those few bucks you 'saved' will haunt you.



posted on Jul, 13 2012 @ 07:58 PM
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I think it is about time for constituents to start petitioning their elected officials to get the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to perform an industry wide audit of procedures at these nuclear sites, and to perform random inspections. If discrepancies arise? Shut them down, and fix them! More and more I am reading about incidents like the one at San Onofre. It looks as though the power companies are neglecting proper maintenance and upgrades to maximize profits and to keep customer payments as low as possible? Some nuke plants are dinosaurs, and have been built in the 1970's. They are running these plants into the ground, and at all our expense and overall health if there is another meltdown.

I am not one to say throw the baby out with the bath regarding nuclear energy, but serious measures need to be taken to ensure another Fukushima does not happen. The regulators better get their act together, and like yesterday! This is very disturbing, and if bad things are happening at the plant in California? It is more than likely happening at other plants. Infrastructure has been neglected for far too long, and people are getting killed over it. Just a few days ago I read about a rail bridge collapsing on to of two motorists and killing them instantly. That has got to stop.



posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 02:59 AM
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Well thank god Im moving the hell outta Ca, couldn't of timed that better...

Seriously though I have friends that Surf near there... Thats very concerning...

Again Why do we put these things in populated areas, on the ocean, in earthquake country?

Are we seriously this stupid or are those depopulation conspiracies true...



posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 04:21 AM
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reply to post by -W1LL
 


Only one word is needed for a reply.

Thorium.



posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
reply to post by -W1LL
 


Only one word is needed for a reply.

Thorium.


why don't you tell us why you think Thorium based nuclear power would solve all these problems?

the issue discussed here is failing steam generators / heat exchangers, problematic for sure since it potentially affects the primary loop but not immediately dangerous because any leak is going to be limited by the size of the tube and remains contained within the secondary circuit anyway, Primary loop water shouldn't contain radioactive impurities so long as the cladding remains intact.


that said, i'm afraid heat exchangers are needed and will remain so for any heat engine no matter the energy source is, so even if you had a workable LFTR (liquid fueled, all else would only be a gradual improvement) design that is economically viable and complies with regulations (impossible by today's standards i'm afraid) you'll still have to depend on heat exchangers, so the fuel type is irrelevant.

Don't hype thorium in vain, it's still nuclear fuel, with all that entails, and only really has two advantages, namely that it's capable of breeding fuel (U233) in a thermal neutron spectrum and a sharp reduction (note: not elimination) in the creation of transuranic isotopes (Pu and higher). If the current err, 'outlook' on nuclear systems is any indication, even transmuting all fission products with half lives greater than 30 years would simply shift the goalposts to other issues, like security.

mark my words, the only way nuclear is going anywhere worldwide consists of China and India decoupling from the oil & gas mafia using these means.



posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 11:40 AM
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This is becoming all to familiar our 30yr old design limit on nuclear plants has come and passed for some and our energy infrastructure is due to fail.


The original certification was 40 years, not 30 years. And given it's a problem with the new steam generators and almost every other plant that is around 40 years old that has had its steam generators replaced has not had similar issues, it doesn't sound like much of a "design limit" to me. It sounds like like a oddity, which is what it is.



Lovely. Nuclear power needs to go. Until we can properly dispose of nuclear waste, until we can properly respond to disasters etc etc.


What do you propose replaces them? Unreliables? Fracking? Coal? Do we properly dispose of that waste instead of dumping it directly into the atmosphere?


? Old plants with old gear and check the EPA with their perfectly disaterous regulations.

NRC regulates nuclear power plants, not the EPA.


Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to perform an industry wide audit of procedures at these nuclear sites, and to perform random inspections. If discrepancies arise? Shut them down, and fix them!

Uhm, that's basically what they do. And is basically exactly what is happening. A problem was found and now the plant is being shut down, the problem is being investigated, and the plant will most likely be repaired, possibly shut down if it costs too much to repair. Also given that unplanned shutdowns, radiation exposure to crew, and unavailability factors are at basically all-time lows, it hardly seems like the fleet is being run into the ground.


Again Why do we put these things in populated areas, on the ocean, in earthquake country?

Why do people live by the ocean in earthquake country?




edit on 15/7/12 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 11:54 AM
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reply to post by C0bzz
 


if you want to knit-pick then its a 30-40 yr design life for the plant but that obviously doesn't matter to the regulators.



posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 08:07 PM
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First I would like to say that I am not for nuclear power. I was at one point an operator and instructor for a nuclear program for awhile. Just to give you a little insight on some things, I will explain why its not that terrible.

First off, wear in the steam gen u-tubes is completely normal. In fact corrosion and wear is absolutely normal in any piping system, nuclear and non-nuclear. In fact every piping system is purposely "pre-rusted". The idea is that the first layer of general corrosion will act as a barrier against other forms of corrosion later. The problem that is happening is that they are not keeping proper chemistry within the primary. Keeping proper chemistry is vital although many things can go wrong in which can throw of the results or even the chemistry itself.

Second I saw someone mention about using a different isotope of uranium (U-238) as fuel as to reduce waste. First off, Most reactors aren't getting refueled primarily because there isn't anymore uranium in the fuel to cause reactions. Its more like there is more fuel poisons than fuel in which hinders critical conditions. Also, though spent fuel does make up a good amount of waste and basically is the worst kind of nuclear waste, most nuclear waste is actually random clean-up items and paper/tool waste.

Third, the problem with using U-238 is that the only viable technology for using it are breeder reactors in which U-238 will beget a lot of plutonium. Plutonium is the main source of material for many types of bombs in which we would like to limit. U-235 doesn't beget as quite as much as plutonium hence why it is used. U-235 is quite more scarce so you can understand why America wants to limit how many countries use it, but America does not want other countries to use U-238 because it generates so much damn plutonium. Also U-235 is a lot more controllable than U-238. Breeder reactors can also be dangerous if not designed correctly (See Chernobyl).

Just some things to chew on.



posted on Jul, 16 2012 @ 02:41 AM
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Originally posted by clarkness
Also U-235 is a lot more controllable than U-238. Breeder reactors can also be dangerous if not designed correctly (See Chernobyl).




are you implying that the RBMK type is a breeder reactor? you need fast neutrons to break even (brred as much fissile as you consume during operation) on U 238 and RBMK is graphite moderated, to the point of overmoderation - that was the problem, a reactor that can remain critical without coolant and on top of that operates below its reactivity maximum ( more moderator won't slow the neutrons but absorb some, a reduction of moderator mass will increase reactivity, but so will loss of coolant - positive void coefficient, dangerous) meaning accident scenarios where criticality excursions can occur without any coolant. Murphy did the rest.

the RBMK design can be used to breed Pu 239 that is relatively pure by virtue of online de- and refueling and the fact that is happens with individual fuel assemblies. put in the odd depleted uranium rod for a couple of weeks and you'll get limited fission and a lot of Pu 239.



posted on Jul, 16 2012 @ 05:08 AM
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reply to post by Long Lance
 


Yes the RMBK is more of a breeder reactor. Any reactor that does not use enriched uranium and operates for the main purpose of obtaining bomb material is basically a breeder. In the days of the Cold War, breeder reactors are what they called reactors for the sole purpose of obtaining plutonium for weapons. These days, they could be a viable source of power without the intention of making weapons, but who knows these days.

From your post, I understand you have the right idea of how Chernobyl worked although some of terms are a bit off. Try not to use the terms that are sprinkled on the web. Generally the main things we would worry about is density of coolant, temperature co-efficient and rod height. Try not to get too fancy.



posted on Jul, 16 2012 @ 10:30 AM
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Originally posted by clarkness
reply to post by Long Lance
 


Yes the RMBK is more of a breeder reactor. Any reactor that does not use enriched uranium and operates for the main purpose of obtaining bomb material is basically a breeder.
.


wouldn't that make it a converter? insert fissile of type 1 (U235) and extract another (Pu 239). Anyway, even during the cold war, nuclear power was at least a consideration as the Shippingport experiment showed, where breeding U233 (from Thorium) was demonstrated with some success:

atomicinsights.com...

a real breeder with a small net gain in fissile over its runtime (five years on one load).



posted on Jul, 16 2012 @ 05:06 PM
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reply to post by Long Lance
 


Converter......breeder.....a rose is a still a rose by any other name. Its just a cheap way of getting weapon grade waste with producing some power on the side.

Shippingport was an interesting read, although it did have some promising designs and still does deserve further research, reading some of the Navy notes on it was that there were a few question marks on its design and power output. The design wasn't practical for a Naval use at the time. Also there were also some questions on the consistency of output. I'm not saying it wouldn't be practical for commercial use, but I know from Naval standpoint it wasn't practical at the time.

The control in the use of thorium is there. Its fuel design is more robust. It does produce way less waste , but what it does produce for real waste is worse than the traditional transuranics. I couldn't much more on it because I am not familiar with the type of fission control methods that it uses. From what I read, I don't quite like the design as a safety point of view, but then again, I generally only like reactors on Navy ships/sites for their safety (well somewhat).

Thorium, in my mind, is just switching to regular unleaded from super unleaded. Its not really any better in the long run for fuel consumption. In the grand scheme of things, we cannot out-engineer nature kicking our ass or human stupidity so no matter what any type of nuclear power is still not without inherent danger. The renewable energies will not lead to human side effects or environmental issues or waste issues if they break down. In the long run, they are cheaper to maintain and run.



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