Edison's "Path to Nowhere" – No Plan. No Power. High Rates.

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John Geesman, attorney for the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, questions a SoCal Edison executive in CPUC SONGS hearing.

“Edison has no plan, and the 70% restart proposal for Unit 2 is a path to nowhere.” John Geesman, attorney for the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility

Damaging New Evidence Revealed [ Updated ]
Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility’s attorney, John Geesman, at yesterday’s California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) hearing on San Onofre costs, was presented with letters he’d requested earlier from Southern California Edison, but that they had withheld until yesterday.

The letters reveal how the defective steam generator’s manufacturer, Mitsubishi and Edison were at a standstill over what action to take as late as December of 2012.

This has major implications for costs charged to ratepayers for running the plant – estimates range from over $400 million to $553 million to $1 billion depending on what’s included – that has produced no electricity since January 2012. SCE clearly has not been able to plan how to proceed to repair the steam generators. Ratepayers had paid $653 million dollars for replacing the steam generators less than two years before the emergency shutdown of San Onofre due to a radiation leak in the new generators.

Attorney Geesman’s point was that, with no real plan in place for the failed generators – shutdown now for over a year – how could SCE claim that charging ratepayers throughout 2012 for electric power they weren’t getting was ‘reasonable’?

Presiding CPUC Administrative Law Judge Melanie Darling – who seems to believe her main job is to protect SCE from the public interest advocates in the proceeding – cut off Geesman’s line of questioning, saying it was outside the scope of this hearing on the reasonableness of SCE’s continuing 2012 charges to customers for the its two non-functioning nuclear reactors.

Geesman responded, “Your honor, aren’t you suggesting that someone driving down the road with the windshield totally blacked out could be acting ‘reasonably’?”

Scroll down for a brief video excerpt of Geesman’s questioning and links to recent news coverage.

Take advantage of the webcast of this CPUC evidentiary hearing – It’s happening through Friday, May 17, 2013 from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm with an hour lunch break. It is available at this URL; https://www.californiaadmin.com/cpuc.shtml
[You must have Real Player installed to watch videos. *Recommended to install previous version of Real (vSP for Windows; v11 for Mac) . Download available on the CPUC site.]

The public pressure to have the hearing live-streamed paid off in that LA Times reporter Abby Sewell – and hopefully many others – can use the webcasts to pay close attention. Do tune in, it’s getting interesting. EON will capture the live stream, and may post excerpts to YouTube if the content warrants special public attention.

Recent News Coverage:

The American “Nuclear Renaissance” Is Over: “The Change in Nuclear’s Fortunes is Staggering” … a Horrible “Cauldron of Events” Has [Brought] the Nuclear Push to a Standstill”
Posted on May 16, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog
American Nuclear Power Suffers Series of Setbacks
CNBC reports:

Once touted as a successor, or at least a competitor, to carbon-based power, the nuclear sector has taken a beating as the momentum behind new projects stalls and enthusiasm for domestic fossil fuel production grows.

Across the country, plans to build nuclear plants have hit roadblocks recently—a sharp turn for a sector that just a few years ago was looking forward to a renaissance. [ A comprehensive summary of nuclear setbacks. Read more

MAY 16, 2013
San Onofre at the No Nukes Brink
By Harvey Wasserman
In January, it seemed the restart of San Onofre Unit 2 would be a corporate cake walk.

With its massive money and clout, Southern California Edison
was ready to ram through a license exception for a reactor whose botched $770 million steam generator fix had kept it shut for a year.

But a funny thing has happened on the way to the restart: a No Nukes groundswell has turned this routine rubber stamping into an epic battle the grassroots just might win….

… It’s common in the nuke blackmail business for a utility to threaten to shut a reactor where jobs and power are desperately needed. But Edison now has a more desperate theme. The spread of solar throughout southern California will bring far more jobs than San Onofre can begin to promise. A new feed-in tariff in Los Angeles has helped spread solar panels throughout the region.

Edison billed southern California ratepayers roughly $1 billion for San Onofre in 2012 even though it generated no juice. The CPUC would probably let them do it again, but public awareness and anger levels have soared. Major media throughout the region have been pummeling Edison, largely over economic issues.

Should San Onofre stay dead, its power void will fast be filled by cheaper, cleaner, safer green technologies destined to make southern California a major focal point in the global march to Solartopia.

This shutdown would take the number of licensed US reactors down to 100. With others on the brink at Indian Point, Vermont Yankee, Oyster Creek and elsewhere, the race to shut the world’s nukes before the next Fukushima is turning the so-called nuclear renaissance into an all-out reactor retreat. More

From Torgen Johnson
Hi All,
I want to share this recent graphic [ below ] produced of the Fukushima radioactive plume overlaid on San Onofre. The image was created for the sole purpose of illustrating the relative size of the plume in Fukushima after only 25 hours vs. the totally inadequate 10-mile EPZ radius size for a U.S. nuclear power plant.

Evacuation would be futile when confronted by a radioactive plume of this size. This is only the first 25 hours and 20 percent of the plume that Prime Minister Kan and the people of Japan faced.

Of course the plume’s shape is specific to the weather patterns in NE Japan and does not reflect what the plume’s shape would be if there was a severe nuclear accident at San Onofre.

A second image from NASA shows what happens to smoke from brush fires during a Santa Ana wind condition. The plume would not necessarily take an elongated oval shape as I have seen in some probabilistic risk assessment studies.

If just the owner occupied homes in the City of San Clemente are valued at over $20 billion you can imagine the economic impacts of a nuclear accident in an urbanized area like Southern California. The economic impacts need to be discussed at all public meetings.

Please feel free to share it. It was sized to print out at 36″ x 50″ poster size.
[ For our in depth interview with urban planner Torgen Johnson on the risks to the ‘built environment’ of Southern California go here. ]

From Gary Headrick at San Clemente Green:

I thought you should know that today was a significant day in the saga of San Onofre. Thanks to the tremendous support we got over the past 2 weeks, we were able to submit 3,706 signatures to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the same time we managed to dominate (if you call 54% dominating) a Union Tribune poll on the question of a shutdown, regardless of Edison pulling every string they could to stay ahead. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much action on a poll like this, with over 10,000 votes and 366 comments.

During this brief but intense period our list of subscribers has nearly doubled to 4,709. All of this has been an impressive response from citizens concerned about a reckless restart, and the prospect of running a nuclear experiment with defective equipment in a population of over 8 million people. Let’s hope the trend continues to grow as this important restart decision draws near. We’ll report back on any results or new developments from this effort.

Most importantly, we just want to say thanks for uniting in such a powerful way in the past few days and weeks. You are an inspiration to the entire movement. Let’s keep the momentum building. Thank you!

Repair proposal floundered at San Onofre
By Morgan Lee3:13 p.m.May 16, 2013 – U-T San Diego

The manufacturer of faulty steam generators that have sidelined the San Onofre nuclear plant proposed long-term repairs last year that were never adopted by the plant operator. More

Edison, Mitsubishi hit roadblock on San Onofre’s future
By Abby Sewell – LA Times
May 15, 2013, 8:19 p.m.
A flurry of letters that went back and forth between Southern California Edison and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries late last year reveal the serious hurdles that stand in the way of the San Onofre nuclear power plant’s long-term future.
The plant had been offline at that point for nearly a year because of unusual wear on tubes that carry radioactive water in the plant’s newly replaced steam generators, which were designed and manufactured by Mitsubishi.
Edison asked federal regulators in October for permission to restart one of the plant’s two units and run it at 70% power for a few months to see if that would alleviate the conditions that led to the wear. More

Read the Southern California Edison and Mitsubishi Letters
Southern California Edison and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries wrote a series of letters back and forth late last year about possible long term repair plans for faulty steam generators at the San Onofre nuclear plant. The plant has been out of service since January 2012. The correspondence came out as part of a proceeding before the California Public Utilties Commission that could eventually lead to customers’ rates being lowered or refunded. Letters here.
— Abby Sewell

Decision on San Onofre pushed back to June at the earliest

By Abby Sewell – LA Times
May 14, 2013, 7:16 p.m.
The head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday that the agency will not make a decision on whether to restart the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant until late June at the earliest.
The timeline for the plant has been pushed back repeatedly.
The plant’s operator Southern California Edison had hoped at one point to have one of the plant’s two units operating by summer, but NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane made it clear that will not happen.
Macfarlane told reporters Tuesday after a speech, “You know, the process is very complicated now. Almost every day it gets a little more complicated…. Right now I can tell you a decision on restart won’t happen until the end of June, certainly after the middle of June.
“It may get pushed back later,” she said. “I don’t know.”
Macfarlane declined to wade into a debate over the meaning of a decision issued Monday by a panel of NRC administrative judges who were tasked with deciding the fate of a petition filed by environmental group Friends of the Earth….

…Meanwhile, a first round of hearings began this week in San Francisco in a California Public Utilities Commission investigation of the costs to ratepayers from the plant’s outage, which could eventually lead to rates being lowered.
Administrative judges initially angered activists by not allowing videotaping of the proceedings, but later agreed to post a webcast of the hearings. More
[ Watch webcasts here. ]

San Onofre ruling creates confusion
By Abby Sewell – LA Times
May 13, 2013, 7:24 p.m.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and an environmental group came to vastly different interpretations Monday of a federal review panel’s decision Monday on the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant.
The plant’s owner, Southern California Edison, meanwhile, said it is still trying to figure out what the ruling means.
San Onofre has been in the midst of multiple regulatory reviews since a tube in the plant’s newly replaced steam generators sprung a leak and released a small amount of radioactive steam in January 2012. More

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