SCE Cited For Major Nuclear Related Safety Violation At San Onofre

Get SCE Out of San Onofre

Background: NRC Spent Fuel Pool Cooling Requirements:

“Each licensee shall develop and implement guidance and strategies intended to maintain or restore core cooling, containment, and spent fuel pool cooling capabilities under the circumstances associated with loss of large areas of the plant due to explosions or fire ….”
The San Onofre spent fuel cooling fire protection plan in the event of a large fire and/or explosion hinges on the expertise and staffing of the on-sight San Onofre Fire Department.
Since the San Onofre Fire Department and Emergency Planning Personnel Staffing was reduced to a skeleton crew without prior approval from the NRC after a full and proper evaluation, the existing fire plan is now outdated and unrealistic in event of a large fire or explosion.
A Spent Fuel Pool Cooling Accident, in case of a large fire or explosion without adequate and demonstrated mitigation measures is a MAJOR Nuclear Safety Concern for all the millions of Southern Californians living within the 10 Mile Emergency Protection Zone.  Remember Fukushima‘s triple meltdowns occurred because of a failure to keep their reactors cool after the big earth quake and tsunami which occurred on 03/11/11.

Last Friday, the NRC cited SCE, the operator of San Onofre’s nuclear power plant for violating NRC rules by failing to get approval before eliminating 39 emergency-response jobs after the plant closed last year.
Historically, NRC Region IV has had the habit of citing Southern California Edison with only low level violations, even if the violations were actually severe violations.  This cozy relationship was a contributing factor in the radioactive leak that resulted in the early decommissioning of San Onofre Units 2 & 3 and the loss of billions of dollars to SoCal ratepayers that could have been prevented, if the NRC had enforced the Federal Regulations as written.  This type of safety enforcement is not good for Californians or the NRC.  Now a serious review/investigation and proper action/fines are required by the NRC and its Commissioners, to assure Nuclear Safety is maintained at San Onofre and all the other US Nuclear Power Plants.
The question the NRC should ask is, Knowing that the SPENT FUEL POOLS MUST STILL BE KEPT COOL 24/7 no matter what, if a major earth quake occurred tonight, would San Onofre Fire Dept.’s skeleton crew be able to guarantee US that they could prevent a nuclear accident from occurring, especially since the 39 emergency-response positions that were illegally eliminated, probably cost ratepayers much less than even one still employed highly paid nuclear manager who would be home sleeping?  
The question that the CPUC should ask is, “If SEC is really interested in safety as they keep telling us, what is the reasonableness of continually cutting corners on those that actually insure our safety, while at the same time retaining other highly paid nuclear Staff?
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Aging Nuke Plants On Fault Lines In Tsunami Hazard Zones = Fukushimas… Any Questions?
PLEASE Turn off a light for Fukushima USA / San Onofre

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The $742 Million Question:

The $742 Million Question

Who should pay for the extra Decommissioning money, not yet collected?

Since the operators of San Onofre made the financial decision to shut it down prematurely, all decommissioning fees not already collected for Units 2 and 3 by 01/31/12, should be paid by the operators of San Onofre, not ratepayers!

Also the California Public Utilities Commission should required SCE put the Decommissioning of San Onofre out for public bid, instead of just giving the mega billion dollar job to SCE. California ratepayers cannot afford a sole source bid when so many International Companies with nuclear expertise are looking for work.

A public bidding process will save California ratepayers huge amounts of money, money which should not end up in SCE’s shareholders pockets. This single project has the potential to jump start our economy, we cannot allow the CPUC to short circuit our states bidding process by not putting this job out for bid!

   Decommissioning Costs as of 1/1/2012
SONGS 1     $ Million
SONGS 2 $ Million
SONGS 3 $ Million
  Radiological Costs
            Site Restoration
  Fuel Storage (Including ISFSI Decommissioning)
  Estimated Total Budget 2009 (See Note 2)
      Total Collected 10/31/12  (See Note 1)
    Total Projection 1/1/2012
Estimated Loss Due To Poor RSG Design/Operation
           86.2   Previously   Overbilled
        441.4           Shortfall
        300.8              Shortfall

  1. SCE  Letter to NRC (2012)
  2. SCE Testimony to CPUC (2009)


The purpose of the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Funds is to mitigate for ratepayers the high cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants at the end of their lives by collecting reasonable fees over a long period of time. The CPUC directs the investor owned utilities to collect a regular Decommissioning fee on customers’ monthly electric bills for Edison and SDG&E’s San Onofre Plant (30 years old) and PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Plant (28 years old). The expected life of a nuclear power plant is 40 years.

$5.2 billion of ratepayer collection is currently invested with the Trust Funds.

At current liquidation value, combined Decommissioning Trust Funds are ~90% funded. The Trust Funds are currently invested in equities (60%) and investment grade fixed income securities (40%). D.87-05-062 established nuclear decommissioning trusts for funding future decommissioning of the utilities’ nuclear units. Each nuclear plant has decommissioning trusts and a committee that oversees the trust fund; Under Public Utilities Code § 8326, SCE is required to provide a decommissioning cost estimate that includes, among other things,

an estimate of the costs of decommissioning, and

a description of changes in regulation, technology, and economics affecting the estimate of costs.

As SCE explains, and as TURN’s witness Lacy acknowledges, the costs to decommission a nuclear facility include the costs to

store the spent fuel onsite or offsite until it is removed by the DOE;

remove residual radioactivity from the site, including from the spent fuel storage facility, to levels required to terminate the NRC license and to release the site for unrestricted use; and

remove non-radiological structures, systems, and components as required to leave the site in a safe condition, or as otherwise mandated by the state or the site owner.

The Utilities project that they will perform the actual decommissioning in three phases.

During Phase I, the Utilities will decontaminate, dismantle, and dispose of the units and the site common facilities. The Utilities will also continue to maintain the integrity and safety of the spent fuel while it remains on the SONGS site. The Utilities will maintain spent fuel in wet storage in spent fuel pools until it can be safely transferred to the SONGS 2 & 3 Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) or removed from the site by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). To safely store fuel in wet storage, the Utilities must maintain each plant system required for spent fuel pool operation until the fuel is removed. The Utilities will drain, de-energize, and secure all other plant systems. After the SONGS 2 & 3 spent fuel pools are empty, the Utilities will decommission the pools and their associated support structures and systems. The Utilities assume that by the time the SONGS 2 & 3 fuel has cooled sufficiently to be removed from the spent fuel pools, the DOE will have removed enough SONGS 2 & 3 fuel from the SONGS site that it will not be necessary to further expand the ISFSI pads or to construct additional Advanced Horizontal Storage Modules (ASHM) to accommodate that fuel.

During Phase II, the Utilities will monitor the ISFSI until the DOE removes the last spent fuel from the site, which is assumed to occur by 2051 based on studies developed from the DOE Acceptance Priority Ranking & Annual Capacity Report (DOE/RW-0567), dated July 2004.

During Phase III, the Utilities will dismantle and dispose of the ISFSI, all remaining site common facilities, and the remaining structural foundations; terminate the NRC licenses; and complete the final site restoration work.

Note: The Utilities do not own the site upon which the SONGS facility is located. Instead, they are authorized to use the site under several lease contracts and grants of easement from the U.S. Department of the Navy and the California State Lands Commission. To terminate these agreements, the Utilities are required to remove all improvements they installed or constructed on the site, except as agreed by the lessors/grantors, return the site to a condition satisfactory to the grantor, and return the site to the lessors/grantors.

Aging Nuke Plants On Fault Lines In Tsunami Hazard Zones = Fukushimas… Any Questions?
PLEASE Turn off a light for Fukushima USA / San Onofre

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