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Power Technology

Decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Plant May Take Decades 266

Posted by samzenpus
from the long-game dept.
gkndivebum writes "Southern California Edison has elected to decommission the San Onofre nuclear plant after a failed effort to upgrade the steam generation system. 'Nuclear economics' is the reason stated for the proposed decommissioning. Other utilities operating nuclear power plants in the US likely face similar decisions when it comes to weighing the costs of upgrading older facilities. Allowing the reactors to remain in 'safe storage' for a period of up to 60 years will allow for radioactive decay and lower radiation exposure for the workers performing the demolition."
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Decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Plant May Take Decades

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  • by swschrad (312009) on Sunday June 09, 2013 @07:17PM (#43956159) Homepage Journal

    for 50 years, the federal government has taxed nuclear fuel to build a permanent waste depository. where is it?

    weasels.

  • [Our Children's Children's Children Will Save Us]

    From certain doom now. Just let them deal with it.

    Both my aunt and neighbor told me the same crap when I asked why they don't recycle. They'll be dead before the world goes to hell.
    I went through their trash and recycled for them. Each time I was scolded for going through their trash. I said I would stop...
    However, to each I also told that research in neuroscience, cybernetics, and stem cells will give us the ability bring our dead back to life by scanning in their brain. [youtube.com]

    I promised that I would stop recycling for them, and also swore that if they do not start recycling that after they are dead,
    I will have their bodies exhumed by whatever means necessary, and their brains scanned and I will bring them back to life
    after the carelessness of people like them has caused the world they leach life from to truly "go to hell".

    They both now have incentive to recycle, and have continued to do so; Even gotten some of their friends to recycle too.
    These "God Fearing" people would throw the world away. It took someone putting the fear of life into them to change them.

    Nuclear energy is most important. Once the last specs of coal and drops of oil are sucked from the Earth, we will look back at our fearful folly and think:
    "All that useful material for making plastics and things, and the fools fucking burned it all."

    It is time to realize the startling truth. You may literally have to live with the consequences of your actions forever.

  • Re:US Epic fail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday June 09, 2013 @07:51PM (#43956395)

    "massive amounts of food poisoning " What!?!? 70% of the people in your country get food poisoning daily?

    1 in 6 [cnn.com] americans get food poisoning annually. In Britain, about 5 million people [wales.nhs.uk] annually get food poisoning. The population of Britain [wikipedia.org] is about 63 million, or a rate of about 1 in 14.

    I think a rate of over double in a country with similar eating habits, socioeconomic status, and climate, constitutes massive.

  • Re:This is crap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday June 09, 2013 @07:52PM (#43956409)

    We were paying attention to Germany who shut down their reactors but nonetheless had enough solar and wind to export ...

    hahahaha. Yes they exported something. It definitely wasn't solar and wind though.

    Solar makes up a pathetic 3% of Germany's power in the summer months. Wind is struggling to crack 8% and that's in a country where you can see a wind farm from every other hill. I'm not sure where you're getting your data from but you may want to do this thing called research.

    By the way your wonderful Germany who are abandoning nuclear power opened 2 coal power stations last year, and are planning to open 6 new ones by the end of this year. Yes that's right, your so presumed green country with green power to spare just built 6GW of coal fired glory and plan to open another 12 power plants by 2020. What a shining example of your argument. Germany hasn't even started making serious efforts to shut down nuclear yet but have already increased their coal consumption by 5% [bloomberg.com].

  • Re:This is crap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday June 09, 2013 @10:55PM (#43957599)
    What's hilarious is that as they push for solar, they are also pushing for bans (well, high taxes, 80%ish level) for solar panels imported from China. If China is selling at a loss, then buy them all, and resell them. The problem is that China is not selling at a loss, and the German (and US) makers can't compete. If they are really dumping, don't double the price with taxes, buy them all and put them on every house. Grid-tie them all together, and the home coverage would nearly fill the power needs. Having grown up in the US south, power needs spike as sun efficiency spikes, giving a nice correlation between need and supply.
  • by TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) on Monday June 10, 2013 @12:13AM (#43957989)

    Nuclear proponents are always running around yelling wind and solar pawer can't compete on a per KW basis. Well, not if you skim off the profits and leave the cleanup to taxpayers!

    Just a reminder that a decommissioning fund of almost ~$3 billion has already been collected and is sitting there ready to pay for the cleanup. And for 60 years the place will be watched over by a few security guards. $3 billion in the bank plus long term interest earned on $3 billion minus the cost of a few security guards... might cover it.

    The money for this fund is skimmed off the top from operating revenues over the life of every nuclear plant. This arrangement is not imposed on all types of power plants, if a coal plant folds you're left with ash piles and poisoned ponds. And yet despite this financial hardship nuclear energy manages to deliver some of the lowest cost per KWh of any energy source. For many years.

    I was bopping around trying to beautify this discussion with some real total energy output and cost per KWh over time for this particular plant, but I was soon taken into a whirlwind of ugly sentiment and hysteria spanning many years. It's hard even to dredge up meaningful figures without blasting one's way through Internet hate-articles written by Californians.

    Many of those articles and hate-blogs written on computers powered by the plant itself, filled with dreams of paving Nevada (or just Somewhere Else) with windmills and unspecified solar miracle-widgets to generate 2 gigawatts to replace San Onofre.

    This plant which has never hurt or injured anyone... which has generated an incredible amount of energy over the years... whose units seem to have run with impressive up-time and efficiency until that dreadful mistake with the steam generator tube upgrade, the wrath of Barbara Boxer.

    A valuable public service... it has been hated for years.

    Never mind the damned numbers, I can't take any more. My sympathy lies with the decommissioned power plant. California does not deserve to have nuclear energy until they grow up.

    I wish the Diablo Canyon plant could grow giant legs like Howl's Castle and walk out of California overnight taking its 2 gigawatts with it. Let the Enron-era brownouts and predatory rate scalping by neighboring states begin once again.

    The cost of ignorance has no bounds.

  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday June 10, 2013 @12:57AM (#43958187)

    Radioactive decay is the mechanism by which something decays which gives off radiation.

    Radiation is all sorts of stuff, from the mundane visible light, to high energy beams of doom, to, unfortunately, electrons flying around (beta radiation) and helium atoms stripped of electrons (alpha radiation), although fortunately the term 'radiation' for alpha and beta particles has mostly fallen out of use.

    Any given radiation photon (or alpha particle or beta particle) is indeed short lived in the area, but the radioactivity - the amount of radiation being given off in a unit of time can be constant for quite a long time. Normally we talk about the half life (how long it takes for the amount of radiation given off to drop to 1/2 of its previous level) but half of 'enough to kill you 1000 times over' is still a problem.

    Different types of radiation have different effects.

    With a nuclear power plant you have a fairly diverse collection of radioactive materials and types of radiation, some of which will be a problem for a few minutes, some for a few thousand years and everything in between (and potentially some things which are going to be a problem for millions). With regards to an american reactor (which I know nothing about) 60 years could very reasonably be long enough for a large portion of the short lived radioactive isotopes to decay into something safe, and the radiation to be either absorbed by the casing or simply be radiated away at a low enough dose that it doesn't matter. And then you have to deal with the stuff that's going to be radioactive for a lot longer. Or maybe not. Who knows, in 60 years someone might actually come up with and implement a plan for what to do with all this nuclear waste we're making that isn't just 'keep in under water on site'.

  • Re:This is crap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday June 10, 2013 @01:06AM (#43958223) Journal

    As I have been exposed to this industry and have been learning what's what and what goes on, I have learned a great respect for at least THIS government agency.

    The NRC hasn't denied an operating permit in 30 years.

    The last permit denied was only under heavy pressure.
    When the facts came out, everything ended up in court with General Electric & Contractors being charged under RICO statues.

    It wasn't a traditional court case, in that it was a summary jury trial [wikipedia.org].
    GE & others ended up settling because the Judge agreed that their actions were fraudulent and that they engaged in racketeering.

    The NRC is a very captured regulatory body.

  • by fritsd (924429) on Monday June 10, 2013 @06:28AM (#43959419) Journal
    Here's one (non-sensational but costly) issue that's known but little discussed: it is relevant for the former nuclear power plant of Dodewaard in the Netherlands:

    If you have to wait some 40-60 years for the iodine and some of the cesium and strontium to decay, it means that:
    • * You have to guard the derelict plant for 40-60 years so that Evil Terrists(TM) and neighbourhood kids don't take bits of concrete to the local shopping mall, and
    • * After 40 years, you have to resurrect a teaching institute to teach a new crop of nuclear decommission engineers how to carry out the plans from 40 years ago how to demolish it safely. That's also an added cost that is probably not really accounted for beforehand.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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