More woes for California’s San Onofre nuke plant


California’s trouble-plagued San Onofre nuclear power plant [previously] is still in shutdown, and company officials have backed off claims that they’d have it back on line at half-capacity next month following a rebuke by the Nuclear Energy Commission.

San Onofre is one of California’s two nuclear power plants.

Like the state’s other plant at Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo County, San Onofre sits directly on the coast in an earthquake prone region riddled with seismic faults.

The plant was shuttered in February after an inspection revealed that hundreds of tubes carrying radioactive hot water used to power the plant’s turbines had become severely corroded only 22 months into their projected two-decade lifespan.

The latest from Abby Sewell of the Los Angeles Times:

In a written statement, the company said, “SCE and the [California Independent System Operator] have maintained throughout the SONGS outage that nuclear safety has no timeline and the units will only be returned to service when SCE and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are satisfied it is safe to do so.  SCE has not filed a request with the NRC seeking to restart the plant.”

Edison said in its statement it provided the June planning dates to the ISO in March only for administrative purposes.

Stephen Pickett, the company’s executive vice president of external relations, said last week Edison was preparing to submit a plan to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that could have the plant back online running at 50% to 80% capacity in June.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko released a statement Monday, saying the agency has yet to receive a written statement from Edison to say the required steps have been taken to investigate and make a plan to fix the issues at the plant and “any discussion of a date for the restart of Unit 2 or Unit 3 is clearly premature.”

Read the rest.

The latest development also comes a year after the company was forced to do a major safety inspection after a fired worker filed a lawsuit alleging he was fired after confronting plant officials with major safety problems with the facility.

A musical opportunity ahead?

Hey, if it gets worse and some radioactivity does leak from the plant, maybe some American conceptual artist will follow the lead of Japan’s Fuyuki Yamakawa, who’s turned the Fukushima disaster into an artwork, Atomic Guitars, by rigging a pair of guitars to play whenever a Geiger counter detects a burst of radiation from a soil sample taken from the grounds of Tokyo National University of the Arts in Toride, 100 ten miles from the Fukushima reactors.

Here’s a clip of his installation at the recent Tokyo Art Fair. H/T to London Review of Books blogger Nick Richardson:

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