Jul 19 2012
NRC report blames computer models for flawed design that resulted in leaks, plant shutdown
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) issued the following statement after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released a report confirming the steam generator tube leak and degradation at California’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was caused by faulty computer models that produced a flawed design:
“I recently met with NRC inspectors and believe the team is carefully and thoroughly investigating the cause of tube degradation at San Onofre. Today’s report indicates there is more work to be done before we can fully understand the problem and determine a possible solution.
“More than 7 million Californians live within 50 miles of San Onofre, so I will continue to closely monitor NRC's efforts to ensure that problems with the San Onofre steam generators are safely and completely resolved.”
The NRC has been conducting additional inspections at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station following a January 31, 2012, steam generator tube leak. Investigations by NRC and Southern California Edison, which owns and operates the plant, discovered that unexpected tube degradation had occurred in all four steam generators for the two reactors.
The steam generator tubes are used to transfer heat from the reactor to create steam that produces electricity. These tubes also serve as an important barrier to contain radioactive reactor coolant.
The Unit 3 reactor was shut down in response to the tube leak. The Unit 2 reactor was already offline for a planned refueling. NRC has ordered both San Onofre reactors to remain offline until it completes its investigations and authorizes Edison to restart.
Today’s report confirms similar findings presented at a recent public hearing and describes 10 other issues that are part of NRC’s ongoing inspections. These additional issues primarily relate to Edison’s approach to designing the steam generators and how they were transported to California from the fabrication facility in Japan.