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San Onofre's Closure: What Was Missed 88

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the bad-assumptions-lead-to-bad-decisions dept.
Lasrick writes "John Mecklin explores the context that was missed when the LA Times and the San Diego Union Tribune reported on the closing of the remaining two San Onofre nuclear reactors: 'U-T San Diego published a similar flurry of well-reported stories that covered the basics of the reasons for the closure, as well as the impact on consumers, workers, and the electricity supply. At both papers, coverage included infographics that effectively explained the problem that forced the plant to close—vibration that caused wear in tubes for the plant's steam generators. (The Times's tick-tock takeout on the history of the steam generator snafu, published in July, is especially comprehensive.) The specifics of the San Onofre closing were covered well and thoroughly. The context within which those basics reside, however, was far less well-examined, and the two major newspapers closest to the San Onofre plant both therefore missed a real opportunity to inform readers about the major energy choices California and the country will need to make in the coming decade.' Excellent work at the Columbia Journalism Review."
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San Onofre's Closure: What Was Missed

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  • by Spoke (6112) on Monday July 15, 2013 @08:23PM (#44290771)

    With all the talk of Santa Ana Winds I think there's an opportunity to build some of these wind farms in SoCal.

    There's quite a bit of wind and solar plants being built right now to accomate the renewable energy mandate in California.

    The utilities in the state have until 2020 to increase renewable energy production to 33% of total energy production and they aren't half-way there yet.

  • by johnny cashed (590023) on Monday July 15, 2013 @08:34PM (#44290925) Homepage
    I'm not sure exactly what you're implying about the warm water and sharks, but considering the rest of your post is about environmental effects you seem to be implying that the water is warm and therefore somehow irradiated?

    No, I think he means the water is literally warmer around the plant. Was it not located on the beach to provide cooling water for the reactor? Thermal pollution is what that is called.
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Monday July 15, 2013 @08:55PM (#44291153) Journal
    Anyone with money pays.

    I just received a chatty letter from SDG&E, mostly blather about how they are saving money at the SDG&E office by cutting down on energy and water use, reducing paper use, updating their vehicle fleet, etc... BLAH BLAH BLAH...

    The gist of the letter is "about a quarter of our customers will see a noticeable increase in their bills in September..." (due to the San Onofre shutdown).

    How much? "If your bill is typically around $100... about $15" -- "If your bill is usually about $250... about $75". (and I am sure it goes higher - see the non-linear trend? 2.5x bill - 5x extra cost... bearing in mind the bill itself is already tiered.

    Meh, what's another $1000 a year to live in the Golden State. Guess I need to fire some more of my household staff to make up the difference (as if - but seriously, middle income folks who haven't had a raise in a few years do tend to cut back on stuff like gardeners and house cleaners to make up for new taxes and other stuff like this... cancel the gym membership, do my own gardening. Net same cost to me, two businesses lose out on my patronage and the economy shrinks a bit more.)
  • by Teancum (67324) <(robert_horning) (at) (netzero.net)> on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:31PM (#44292069) Homepage Journal

    There are some places you can send nuclear material. One company in particular that I'm aware of is Energy Solutions [energysolutions.com] who operates a repository near Salt Lake City that takes in a fairly large amount of nuclear materials (like old x-ray machines, radiation suits of reactor workers, gloves from hospitals, and other similar stuff). There are other locations and companies too.

    The problem as you've alluded to is "high level nuclear waste" from reactors, such as the proposed Yucca Mountain [wikipedia.org] repository. Yes, the idea of such a facility has been shit canned and is a continued political football. Why anybody would object to building such a facility next to the Nevada Test Range is beyond my comprehension, but so be it. There are other potential locations, as well as reprocessing plants that could use spent fuel and convert it into useful by-products of various kinds and even fuel nuclear power plants for another 500 years or more just off of existing stockpiles.

    As far as moving the fuel through residential neighborhoods, the material can be moved in small enough quantities and in strong enough containers that it would be far safer than moving petroleum to a neighborhood gasoline station. Those routinely move through residential neighborhoods, so what is the objection again?

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