Thursday, June 21, 2012

California Could Have Its Own Fukushima

Maybe the AmeriKan media can help you find a silver lining:

"Calif. nuclear plant’s woes laid to design" by Michael R. Blood  |  Associated Press, June 19, 2012

CAPISTRANO BEACH, Calif. - After months of investigation, federal regulators have determined that design flaws appear to be the cause of excessive wear in tubing that carries radioactive water through California’s troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant, a top federal regulator said.

The twin-reactor plant between Los Angeles and San Diego has been idle since January, after a tube break in one of four massive steam generators released traces of radiation.

A team of federal investigators was dispatched to the plant in March after it was learned that some tubes were so badly corroded that they could fail and possibly release radiation, a stunning finding inside the virtually new equipment.

Missteps in fabrication or installation were considered as possible sources of the rapid tube decay, but “it looks primarily we are pointed toward the design’’ of the heavily modified generators, Elmo Collins, Nuclear Regulatory Commission regional administrator, said Sunday.  

They did it on the cheap?

Collins did not rule out that one or more of the generators, which were installed in a $670 million overhaul in 2009 and 2010, might have to be replaced. Eight tubes failed during earlier pressure tests in the Unit 3 reactor and “we have not seen that in the industry before,’’ he said.

“It’s these four steam generators that either have, or are susceptible to, this type of problem,’’ Collins said, referring to the unusual damage caused when alloy tubes vibrate and rattle against each other or against brackets that hold them in place.

So far, a fix has remained elusive. “It’s not too hard to frame up the problem,’’ Collins said. “The answers are very difficult, or they already would have emerged.’’


Cracked and corroded generator tubing has vexed the nation’s nuclear industry for years.



Related: Designed for disaster: San Onofre nuclear plant could become California's Fukushima 

Also see: The Globe's Oregon Backwash

Japanese Power Plant Post Out of Order 

The AmeriKan media has failed us all.