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Anti-Nuke Group Expert: SCE Put Cart Before Horse

At a hearing this week in Maryland, a nuclear consultant hired by environmental group Friends of the Earth criticized Edison's upgrade process.

As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to review plans to partially restart the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, one nuclear scientist renews his assertions that the recent upgrades there were botched from the beginning.

Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, contracted by national environmental group Friends of the Earth, told regulators at a hearing in Maryland this week that they were asleep at the wheel when they approved upgrades to the plants steam generators, installed in 2009 and 2010.

One of those generators, because of manufacturing and design defects, sprang a leak of radioactive steam in January of 2012. The leak revealed that the generators were riddled with more than a thousand bum components.

Now, plant operator Southern California Edison is trying to convince the NRC that it can safely restart the less-damaged half of the plant at partial power.

Los Angeles Public Radio reports:

The group Friends of Earth presented about 40 different slides – mostly technical data – at a Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing Wednesday outside Washington, D.C. But the crux of their case can be summed up by just one slide: a drawing of a cart before the horse.

The group argues San Onofre’s operator, Southern California Edison, should have been required to go through the NRC's license amendment process before it installed new steam generators in 2009 and 2010.

“What happened is Edison made their mind up before they went out for bids they were not going to tell the NRC all the changes they were making,” said nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, who testified on behalf of Friends of the Earth. “This steam generator is so much changed from everything before it, it’s no wonder they had problems.”

Read the rest of the story from KPCC here.

Read hundreds of Patch stories in chronological order about the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station over the past three years here.

JustUs January 20, 2013 at 01:19 AM
"Oh, & JustUs, you are really ignorant!" Only ignorant people call something else ignorant without challenging it with facts. If I'm ignorant you're a moron, Leah! :^)
Matt January 20, 2013 at 04:36 PM
What it boils down to is Edison asking to produce a product with failed equipment. Edison is a manufacturer of a product, energy, that is supplied to the public. They or any manufacturer has an obligation to look out for that product to a level beyond that of what a user or consumer has information about, and they have failed to live up to that obligation. The NRC should shut SONGS down permanently for the overwhelming safety concerns of the public!
Frieda Wales January 20, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Only in San Clemente, there is a magic buffer zone that keeps Dana Point, Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, and Oceanside, etc. safe? And yes, we bought property here because we believed that it was safe and that rules would not be circumvented and that at the end of the life cycle it would not be "upgraded" under suspicious circumstances and with an eye for the almighty $$ and not for safety of the citizens of the area and one of the most beautiful areas of the U.S. Shame on Edison is what you probably meant.
Frieda Wales January 20, 2013 at 05:11 PM
LN Matt, it sounds like you are probably losing your job because old, inferior, unsafe, disaster-ridden technology, is being slowly terminated. Why the staunch support of this dangerous facility? Perhaps you should look into retraining.
LN Mark January 23, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Um, no. I'm just a well trained engineer that understands probability, risk, the unrestrained uneducated hype from the no-nuke sector, and above all else, my electric bill. What are your credentials?

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