Saturday, June 8, 2013

San Onofre Shutdown: Singing a New Song's Congratulations

"SONGS" (San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station) is shuttering,
tremendously terrific news for the surrounding environment,
people and animals within the 75+ mile ingestion pathway. But
nuclear reactor Units 2 and 3 won't begin the process for at least
three more months, as the fuel rods must be agonizingly slowly
removed first. Ted Craver, Edison International Chief Executive,
reminds us "...that full decommissioning of the site is...a multi-
decade process." Unit 1 has been shut down since 1992; the
entire nuclear park at San Onofre (near San Diego, off the Pacific)
will eventually close.

What is that area's long-term future? Can it be brought back to
"Greenfield" status? Will the utility use the SAFESTOR method
or a more immediate removal plan? These extremely important
questions have yet to be decided/answered.  I vote for the
most rigorous safety standards objective nuclear engineers can
devise. [People swim near there, apparently. (-!)]

Meanwhile, several other reactors' operators have decided to
close down here in the U.S., to say nothing of Germany's
ambitious anti-nuke plans. For those of  us in the anti-nuke
camp, all these developments are congratulations-worthy.
But alas, we need to look closer: the thorium front and new
nukes folks have been gaining ground.

Even though former NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko opposed
these new nuke projects in the USA's southeast, citing no new
nuke significant safety plans post Fukushima ("311"), he was
outvoted by the other four NRC "deciders" (February 2012).
These new plants are the first to be granted operating licenses
since 1978, the year before the Three Mile Island 40% core
melt disaster. 

Good golly, Miss Molly, I find more sense in a Chinese fortune
cookie: "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst."  Regarding
nuclear power technology disaster and/or operations planning
(forecasting scenarios), the "worst" is almost never thought of,
here at home, Japan or elsewhere.

For now, we'll celebrate the safety positives where we find them:
"Gone, gone, 'SONGS' soon will be gone...."

1 comment:

  1. Ouch! I hadn't realized that virgin nuke facilities were in the works for the southeast. Even if none of them was to be located in areas prone to hurricanes or tornados, there's still the ongoing risks of shipment and storage of spent fuel rods.

    But supposing we all do get terminally singed by a nuclear disaster. At least we'll expire with clean lungs.