San Onofre is Dead and So Is Nuclear Power


The sun sets on San Onofre. (Photo: dolanh/cc/flickr)From his California beach house at San Clemente, Richard Nixon once watched three reactors rise at nearby San Onofre. As of June 7, 2013, all three are permanently shut.

It’s a monumental victory for grassroots activism. it marks an epic transition in how we get our energy.

In the thick of the 1970s Arab oil embargo, Nixon said there’d be 1000 such reactors in the US by the year 2000.

As of today, there are 100.

Four have shut here this year. Citizen activism has put the “nuclear renaissance” into full retreat.

Just two of 54 reactors now operate in Japan, where Fukushima has joined Chernobyl and Three Mile Island in permanently scarring us all.

Germany is shutting its entire fleet and switching to renewables. France, once the poster child for the global reactor industry, is following suit. South Korea has just shut three due to fraudulent safety procedures. Massive demonstrations rage against reactors being built in India. Only the Koreans, Chinese and Russians remain at all serious about pushing ahead with this tragic technology.

Cheap gas has undercut the short-term market for expensive electricity generated by obsolete coal and nuke burners. But the vision of Solartopia—a totally green-powered Earth—is now our tangible long-term reality.

With falling prices and soaring efficiency, every moving electron our species consumes will be generated by a solar panel, wind turbine, bio-fueled or geothermal generator, wave machine and their green siblings.

As of early this year, Southern California Edison’s path to a re-start at San Onofre seemed as clear as any to be expected by a traditional atomic tyrannosaur.

But with help from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator-to-be Ed Markey (D-MA), a powerful citizen uprising stopped it dead.

So did the terrifying incompetence and greed that has defined the nuclear industry from the days of Nixon and before.

San Onofre Unit One shut in the 1990s due largely to steam generator problems.

In the early 2000s, Units 2 & 3 needed new steam generators of their own. In the usual grasp for more profits, Edison chose untested, unlicensed new designs.

But they failed. And the whole world was watching. In the wake of Fukushima, two more leaky tsunami-zone reactors surrounded by earthquake faults were massively unwelcome.

So a well-organized non-violent core of local, state and national activists and organizations rose up to stop the madness.

At Vermont Yankee, Indian Point, Seabrook, Davis-Besse and dozens of other reactors around the US and world, parallel opposition is escalating.

Make no mistake—this double victory at San Onofre is a falling domino. Had the public not fought back, those reactors would have been “fixed” at public expense.

Today, they are dead.

Worldwide, there are some 400 to go. Each of them—including the 100 remaining in the US—could do apocalyptic damage. We still have our work cut out for us.

But a huge double-step has been taken up the road to Solartopia.

There will be no Fukushimas at San Onofre.

A green-powered Earth is that much closer.

And we have yet another proof that citizen action makes all the difference in our world.

So seize the day and celebrate!!!

Harvey Wasserman

Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he edits www.nukefree.org. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the US and Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth are atwww.harveywasserman.com along with Passions of the PotSmoking Patriots by “Thomas Paine.”  He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election, atwww.freepress.org.

PRESS RELEASE- San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to close permanently #goodnews


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON PLANT - NARA - 542593

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON PLANT – NARA – 542593 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Media Relations (626) 302-2255
Investor Relations Contact: Scott Cunningham (626) 302-2540
Southern California Edison Announces Plans to
Retire San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
Company Will Continue its Work with State Agencies on Electric Grid Reliability
ROSEMEAD, Calif. (June 7, 2013) — Southern California Edison (SCE) has decided to permanently
retire Units 2 and 3 of its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).
“SONGS has served this region for over 40 years,” said Ted Craver, Chairman and CEO of Edison
International, parent company of SCE, “but we have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about
when or if SONGS might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to
plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs.”
Both SONGS units have been shut down safely since January 2012. Unit 2 was taken out of service
January 9, 2012, for a planned routine outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline January 31, 2012, after
station operators detected a small leak in a tube inside a steam generator manufactured by Mitsubishi
Heavy Industries (MHI). Two steam generators manufactured by MHI were installed in Unit 2 in 2009 and
two more were installed in Unit 3 in 2010, one of which developed the leak.
In connection with the decision, SCE estimates that it will record a charge in the second quarter of
between $450 million and $650 million before taxes ($300 million – $425 million after tax), in accordance
with accounting requirements.
After months of analysis and tests, SCE submitted a restart plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC) in October 2012. SCE proposed to safely restart Unit 2 at a reduced power level (70%) for an
initial period of approximately five months. That plan was based on work done by engineering groups
from three independent firms with expertise in steam generator design and manufacturing.
The NRC has been reviewing SCE’s plans for restart of Unit 2 for the last eight months, during which
several public meetings have been held. A recent ruling by an adjudicatory arm of the NRC, the Atomic
Safety and Licensing Board, creates further uncertainty regarding when a final decision might be made on
restarting Unit 2. Additional administrative processes and appeals could result in delay of more than a
year. During this period, the costs of maintaining SONGS in a state of readiness to restart and the costs
to replace the power SONGS previously provided would continue. Moreover, it is uneconomic for SCE
and its customers to bear the long-term repair costs for returning SONGS to full power operation without
restart of Unit 2. SCE has concluded that efforts are better focused on planning for the replacement
generation and transmission resources which will be required for grid reliability.
“Looking ahead,” said Ron Litzinger, SCE’s President, “we think that our decision to retire the units will
eliminate uncertainty and facilitate orderly planning for California’s energy future.”
Litzinger noted that the company has worked with the California Independent System Operator, the
California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission in planning for Southern
California’s energy needs and will continue to do so. 2 of 2
“The company is already well into a summer reliability program and has completed numerous
transmission upgrades in addition to those completed last year,” Litzinger said. “Thanks to consumer
conservation, energy efficiency programs and a moderate summer, the region was able to get through
last summer without electricity shortages. We hope for the same positive result again this year,” Litzinger
added, “although generation outages, soaring temperatures or wildfires impacting transmission lines
would test the system.”
In connection with the retirement of Units 2 and 3, San Onofre anticipates reducing staff over the next
year from approximately 1,500 to approximately 400 employees, subject to applicable regulatory
approvals. The majority of such reductions are expected to occur in 2013.
“This situation is very unfortunate,” said Pete Dietrich, SCE’s Chief Nuclear Officer, noting that “this is an
extraordinary team of men and women. We will treat them fairly.” SCE will work to ensure a fair process
for this transition, and will work with the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) and the International
Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) on transition plans for the employees they represent.
SCE also recognizes its continuing safety responsibilities as it moves toward decommissioning of the
units. SCE’s top priority will be to ensure a safe, orderly, and compliant retirement of these units. Full
retirement of the units prior to decommissioning will take some years in accordance with customary
practices. Actual decommissioning will take many years until completion. Such activities will remain
subject to the continued oversight of the NRC.
SCE intends to pursue recovery of damages from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the supplier of the
replacement steam generators, as well as recovery of amounts under applicable insurance policies.
For updates, please visit http://www.SONGScommunity.com, or follow us on Twitter at
http://www.twitter.com/SCE_SONGS and on http://www.facebook.com/SCE.
San Onofre is jointly owned by SCE (78.21 percent), San Diego Gas & Electric (20 percent) and the city
of Riverside (1.79 percent).
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest
electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-
square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

 

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