California nuke plant leak called ‘no risk’

February 1, 2012

A leak in a steam generator tube at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California Tuesday poses no danger, plant officials say. [Los Angeles Times]

As an investigation continues today into the cause and scope of the leak, a spokesman for Southern California Edison Co. said the incident was minor to the point when “it wouldn’t even qualify as the least severe” infraction as defined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The plant’s Number 3 unit was shut down about 5:30 p.m., as “a precaution,” but no risk was posed to workers, said the spokesman, and no evacuations occurred.

Customer service will not be affected.



  1. MaryMalone says:

    This has to do with the aftermath of the Fukushima-D disaster.

    Reports from workers in the seafood processing industry in Japan are starting to filter out.

    There is a report of octopuses/i, when being cut up for processing, containing human hair and fingernails, which don’t digest. Sea urchins, like the octupus, are omnivores, and they are reported as unusually large this year.

    A restaurant chef reported finding part of a wrist-watch.

    It seems all of this is common after a tsunami occurs.

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • Harumph says:

      The sea life had good eats due to a tsunami. Sorry, what does whis have to do with nuclear power?

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. Harumph says:

    Once again, if the leak was on a “cold” loop then it makes no difference if the plant is nuclear powered, coal powered, or hamster wheel powered.

    Shame on the media for sensationalizing this.

    (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      Was it on a “cold” loop? NO, it was not.

      As I said, the NRC lie, and often it takes a lot of knowledge, tenacity and ability to connect the dots to get to anything close tot he truth.

      Notice how, a little by little, more information is mentioned, often in the middle of discussing something that has already been discussed.

      Did you know there was a crack inside the generator? I didn’t either until I read this article. That is where the contaminated water is passing through. It turns into gas (probably tritium). It passes into another building, which is not securely sealed from the outside.

      Alexander also said Wednesday that radioactive water was passing through a crack inside the generator at a rate of 80 to 100 gallons per day


      SAN ONOFRE: NRC say leak may have caused minor radiation release at San Onofre

      An official with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday that a water leak this week at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station could have released a small amount of radiation into the atmosphere, contradicting an earlier statement by plant owner Southern California Edison.
      Victor Dricks, a spokesman for the NRC, said a small release could have occurred because the leaking component at San Onofre’s Unit 3 reactor vents into a building outside the reactor’s towering containment dome. That building is not sealed or pressurized, he said.
      “We know that it vented some radioactive gases into the auxiliary building because that’s what triggered the radiation alarm that told them they had a leak,” Dricks said….

      …In a news release, the company said it believes at least one of the 9,727 thin tubes inside the generator burst, allowing radioactive reactor coolant to mix with nonradioactive water used to make the steam that generates power at the plant.
      However, on Wednesday Edison appeared to retreat from its initial statement Tuesday evening declaring that no amount of radioaction had been released into the atmosphere….

      Neither the NRC nor Edison were able to supply the amount of radiation detected in the auxiliary building. The NRC is continuing to investigate Edison’s response to the incident.
      Alexander also said Wednesday that radioactive water was passing through a crack inside the generator at a rate of 80 to 100 gallons per day when Edison began shutdown procedures.
      He said engineers spent Wednesday drawing up plans on how they would pinpoint the leak while they waited for the reactor to cool enough to enter the Unit 3 containment dome.
      Until engineers can enter the Unit 3 structure and begin probing each individual tube, they won’t know how extensive the damage is, officials said….

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
      • Harumph says:

        Very well then, the hot loop leaked into the cold loop, which is openly vented.
        Not to condone the incident but I am curious about how this release will compare to the daily radioactive release at coal fired plants.
        Yes, coal burning has a radioactive by product release. Coal plant workers aren’t even rad workers, either.

        (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
        • R.Hodin says:

          Nice try at a re-direct.

          Diablo’s and SONGS’ generators had been leaking for decades, and the leaks were systematically plugged during refueling outages. SONGS’ generators are only a few years new, and already the walls of the generator tubes have thinned by 10%.

          I think more reasonable questions might be:

          1) what is the historical total quantity of release from the 8 generators (Diablo + SONGS) that were eventually replaced ?

          2) are the generators at Diablo of the same specification, material and manufacture?

          3) will the ratepayers now be on the hook for new replacement generators?

          4) who will pay for the lost generating capacity (replacement power) during the generator replacement outages?

          5) what is the likelihood of multiple and simultaneous tube failures?

          and that’s just the start.

          (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
          • Harumph says:

            Mmmmm no. No redirect, just aware of how fairly ignorant and hysterical the general public is about radiation, overall.

            That said, I find your concerns well worded and justifiable.

            Don’t let the shiny objects get to you Hodin.

            (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. willie says:

    Not a problem
    1. Southern California Edison Co. puts their guaranttee on it.
    2. The spokesman ID him/herself and puts his/her life on the line backing the statement
    So far I have not heard it!

    (-6) 6 Total Votes - 0 up - 6 down
  4. pasowino says:

    Considering the shower head in your shower is a minimum of 120 gallons per hour, I would say that 80 gallons per hour at an industrial plant of this size is pretty minimal.

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
    • amusselm says:

      Also, remember that this is in the secondary cooling loop. This means that the water that’s leaking out of this steam generator tube is water that never passes through the reactor.

      (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        Not true. As the story evolves (as NPP stories always do), there was at least one loop that contained contaminated water AND there is a crack in the generator through which the water passed.

        Can’t wait to see what they mention in passing tomorrow.

        (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      Not accurate, pasowino.

      What they are not speaking about publicly is that this is 80 gallons per hour of RADIOACTIVE WATER.

      Look again at the photo accompanying this article. Do you see the problem now?

      With any press release about a nuclear power plant issue, you have to assume they are not being completely forthright about the situation.


      From the NRC (

      Pressurized water reactors (PWRs) use steam generators, large components that convert water into steam using heat produced in the reactor core. These devices can measure up to 70 feet in height and weigh as much as 800 tons. Inside the steam generators, hot radioactive water is pumped through thousands of feet of tubing – each steam generator can contain anywhere from 3,000 to 16,000 tubes, each about three-quarters of an inch in diameter – under high pressure to prevent it from boiling. That water flowing through the inside of the tubes then heats non-radioactive water on the outside of the tubes. This produces steam that turns the blades of turbines to make electricity. The steam is subsequently condensed into water and returned to the steam generator to be heated once again.
      These tubes have an important safety role because they constitute one of the primary barriers between the radioactive and non-radioactive sides of the plant. For this reason, the integrity of the tubing is essential in minimizing the leakage of water between the two “sides” of the plant. There is the potential that if a tube bursts while a plant is operating, radioactivity from the primary coolant system – the system that pumps water through the reactor core – could escape directly to the atmosphere in the form of steam.

      (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
      • Harumph says:

        Per day. The leak was rated in gallons per day.

        Read the text you paste.

        (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
    • Harumph says:

      Per day. The leak was rated in gallons per day.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  5. MaryMalone says:

    The amount of water leaked from the NPP was an average of 80 gallons per hour. That is a lot.

    (-8) 10 Total Votes - 1 up - 9 down

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