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Monday, October 22, 2012

SCE conducting testing at San Onofre

There appears to be a growing amount of anti-nuclear press being given to the work processes underway at SCE's San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.  While it's fun to be scared, it's a lot more responsible to be informed.  Here is an Edison International press release on just what is going on at San Onofre.


Southern California Edison Conducts Required Testing of Equipment

Media Contact: Media Relations, (626) 302-2255

Rosemead, Calif., Oct. 19, 2012 — Southern California Edison (SCE) has begun required equipment testing using a temporary boiler to produce steam required in the non-nuclear portions of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. This testing is not part of a plant restart.
The current testing is required for Unit 2 upgrades completed this past January, which included installing a new reactor vessel head. During this testing, steam might be visible on the west side of the plant. The temporary boiler is being run on diesel fuel.
The testing is anticipated to last about seven days. During this period, the reactor cooling water system will pump water through its normal flow path. The pumping energy will heat up and pressurize the reactor water to normal levels.
These conditions are necessary to conduct the planned testing of the new equipment. In accordance with the requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Confirmatory Action Letter, the reactor will remain shut down and the steam generators will not be producing steam to run the power plant.
Both units of the San Onofre plant are currently safely shut down. Unit 2 was taken out of service Jan. 9 for a planned outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline Jan. 31 after station operators detected a leak in a steam generator tube.
SCE submitted its response to the NRC’s Confirmatory Action Letter on Oct. 4, along with its restart plan for Unit 2. Unit 2 cannot be restarted until all plans have been approved by the NRC and will remain shut down until the NRC is satisfied that it is safe to operate. Unit 3 remains safely shut down for continued inspections, analysis and testing.
For updates, please visit www.SONGScommunity.com, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SCE_SONGS and on www.facebook.com/SCE.


The press release above pretty well lays out the facts.

----  I have seen some supposed "insider," or "whistleblower" reports hitting the anti-nuke wires, which are purported to be made by someone inside the plant indicating that SCE intends to restart San Onofre at the earliest possible date.  Those who have been following either Atomic Power Review for a long time, or the ANS Nuclear Cafe blog for a long time, are all too well aware of the fact that the plants at San Onofre cannot and will not restart their reactors until the NRC has fully been made comfortable with, and signed off on, all remedial procedures.

What SCE is doing right now is applying essentially an external heat source to heat up and pressurize the water in the plant on the primary side.  The reactor is shut down.  This testing must be done to confirm that the newly applied reactor vessel head does not leak.  Of course, there is no threat to anyone on site or off site from any source, for any reason, during this pressurized testing. 

None of the dynamics that were in play causing the steam generator tube leaks during normal, steaming plant operation with the reactors at power are at play during this testing.  This testing is much more like a hydrostatic test on a coal or oil fired boiler than anything else.  And, as has been said, it's a required type of test.

8:00 PM Eastern 10/22/2012

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