APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

SCE Demands Reimbursement from Mitsubishi for San Onofre RSG's

Below is a press release from Southern California Edison.

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

SCE Demands that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Reimburse for Expenses Incurred Because of Mitsubishi’s Failed San Onofre Replacement Steam Generators

SCE Spent More Than $140 Million Investigating the Failure, Yet Mitsubishi Maintains that Just $7.6 Million of Those Expenses Are Its Responsibility

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Oct. 1, 2013 — Southern California Edison (SCE) today criticized Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Mitsubishi) for “stonewalling” and made public its demand that Mitsubishi reimburse SCE for expenses incurred in responding to fundamental defects in the San Onofre replacement steam generators (RSGs) that Mitsubishi designed and manufactured. SCE’s demand follows the Sept. 23 findings from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that Mitsubishi’s replacement steam generators failed because of a flaw in the computer code that Mitsubishi used to design and manufacture them.

According to SCE’s Sept. 27 letter to Mitsubishi, available at www.songscommunity.com/docs/edisoninvoices.pdf, “Edison spent over $140 million investigating the cause of excessive tube wear in the RSGs following a tube leak in one of the Unit 3 RSGs, plugging damaged tubes in all four RSGs, and attempting to restart Unit 2 after both Units were shut down due to the RSG defects.” SCE’s letter states that “it is simply incredible for Mitsubishi to assert that only $7.6 million of those expenses are Mitsubishi’s responsibility.”

SCE’s letter also maintains that, although Mitsubishi claims that “it has still not received sufficient documentation to recognize its warranty obligations,” the facts demonstrate otherwise. According to the letter, “Edison has gone well beyond its obligations to provide documentation supporting its costs,” including:

•   “Mitsubishi employees [were] present at the plant and involved in much of the activity described in these invoices”;

•    “Edison has provided Mitsubishi with several thousand pages of detailed backup documents supporting the charges”;

•    “Edison employees have spent hundreds of hours responding to Mitsubishi’s ongoing demands for information, including by creating specialized reports for Mitsubishi”; and

•    “The documentation Edison has provided far exceeds the level of detail that is customary in the industry — and far exceeds any backup that Mitsubishi has ever provided Edison in support of any charges it is claiming.”

The SCE letter concludes that “Mitsubishi’s actions have made it clear that no reasonable level of documentation will ever be sufficient to support payment in its view. We are therefore unwilling to engage in yet another time-consuming effort, only to face continued stonewalling by Mitsubishi.”

In July, SCE filed a Notice of Dispute with Mitsubishi in an attempt to recover all damages caused by Mitsubishi’s failed design and manufacture of the San Onofre replacement steam generators that led to the shutdown of the nuclear plant. SCE has also announced that it continues to reserve all of its rights as to any and all legal remedies available against Mitsubishi. Finally, SCE has made public key documents regarding the failure of the replacement steam generators in a Digital Document Library located at www.SONGScommunity.com/library, although the Digital Library remains incomplete because of Mitsubishi’s continued refusal to permit other key documents to be made public.

About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

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10:00 AM Eastern 10/2/2013
ATOMIC POWER REVIEW

1 comment:

  1. Will, Good job on APR! I like the mix of deep dive and analysis.

    I finally got through a fraction of the docs on SONGS.

    Page 15 of MHI doc L5-04GA588 states:
    "The Critical Factor is an experimentally determined value, which is a function of the tube pattern and the fluid environment. The Critical Factor varies for each tube as a function of void fraction and location of the tube within the U-bend"

    The operative phrase here is "experimentally determined value".

    The exact value of the Critical Factor (CF) was apparently not known for either the OSG or RSG designs so the Critical Velocity (CV) for the onset of FEI was also unknown for both the OSG and RSG. After decades of running the experiment (by operating the plant), what was known was that the Critical Velocity for the OSG was above the flow rates at 100% power. Critically, without an experimentally validated model, there was no way to be analytically certian WHY the CV was suffieient for the OSG.

    Any change in the mechanical design that would change the CF and therefore the CV would require an instrumented full scale prototype of the reactor and proposed RSG.

    Cost prohibitive experiment? Yes.

    Try it first in a production plant? A cost catastrophic experiment.

    Try to debug it after it fails in a production plant? Priceless.

    We need our Operators to say no to us when we propose to experimentally determine our constants in their critical production facilities.

    The operators need their politicians to say no to them when risks are proposed that exceed the operator's balance sheets.

    As to who was at fault? My suggestion is to trace back the phrase "experimentally determined value". Find the step where the design got signed off without this number being experimentally determined.

    My guess is that the design was done provisionally based on the prototype and experiment being done in the future and then someone scaled back or canceled the experiment.

    As stewards of the industry, the engineering community owes it to itself to make sure the operators know when they are risking their plant.

    As engineers, if we can not explain the factors and risks in a way that equips lay people to make an economic or political judgment then we should not take the job.

    -Kent

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