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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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  • "Team Nukie" was a surf team from the 1980s that surfed the San Onofre Nuclear Plant beaches. They wore t-shirts sporting "Nukiedog" as their idol: The surfer, his board and his dog that surfed with him on his board that, bathed in the effluent from the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, fused together into the meanest tube riding machine of Southern California.

    Earlier today I was looking for an image of Nukiedog to do some ascii art of him as a response to Aspidog [youtube.com] in earlier today, but alas, found nothin [irc]

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday July 15, 2013 @06:51PM (#44290541) Journal

      Paywalls are a relatively new development for Internet, revealing itself to the public some 10 years ago.

      It's effect was often ignore, until this case, that is.

      The article the former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Peter Bradford wrote for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists earlier this year is locked behind a paywall, an article that could have contained vital information for the public to make up their correct judge regarding the use of Nuclear Energy to generate electricity for the United States of America.

      The more articles being locked behind paywalls, the less informed the public are going to become.

      The less informed the public are, the more power the elite 0.1% is going to garner, for the public will have no cause to oppose whatever they propose, as vital information locked up, so that a few could make some money, while the masses lose.

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Monday July 15, 2013 @06:31PM (#44290387) Journal

    An article that decries all the valuable, important stuff that could have been brought up, but then doesn't bother to bring them up and/or discuss them in any detail?

    This article was a waste of my time. I wish Slashdot had a thumbs up/down on articles.

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      I wish Slashdot had a thumbs up/down on articles.

      It's called the firehose. You can find it here [slashdot.org] if you have somehow managed to ignore all the other times slashdot begs you to go there and rate stories.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      An article that decries all the valuable, important stuff that could have been brought up, but then doesn't bother to bring them up and/or discuss them in any detail?

      This article was a waste of my time. I wish Slashdot had a thumbs up/down on articles.

      THis is why there is room for comments. Care to add anything or just bemoan the lack of further info?

      I was past San Onofre within the last month and can tell you their security is still active and keeping a fierce eye out for lollygaggers, loiterers, slow-poke drivers and the generally curious. They didn't bother me, but made their presence known.

    • Re:Ironic? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dj245 (732906) on Monday July 15, 2013 @09:09PM (#44291893) Homepage

      An article that decries all the valuable, important stuff that could have been brought up, but then doesn't bother to bring them up and/or discuss them in any detail?

      This article was a waste of my time. I wish Slashdot had a thumbs up/down on articles.

      Well I can't speak for the nuclear side of it, but the steam turbines had problems too. One was that they were getting buildup in the generator stator core cooling tubes.
      See, a large steam turbine like this has a really massive electric generator. In most motors that people think of, the windings are made of copper wire. However, in large generators, these wires are replaced with copper strands roughly 2mm by 5mm or so, which are then bundled into groups of 100 or more in a rectangular shape. Usually, the resistance losses are such that air or hydrogen cooling is enough. However, when you start pushing around thousands of amps, even very small resistance losses turn into a lot of heat. At a certain point when you are making a generator larger and larger, all that copper becomes prohibitively expensive.

      The first thing to do is replace the air with hydrogen. Hydrogen has less cooling capacity, but it is far less dense than air so the air friction of the rotor is much less, resulting in less heat. In truly large machines, however, that isn't enough. Above around 350MW, you make a portion of these copper strands hollow and pump water through them.

      The combination of water, thousands of amps, and hydrogen sounds pretty dangerous, and you would be right in thinking that a lot of machines went BOOM before they nailed all the potential problems. One problem though remains the chemistry of the water in the copper strands. Demineralized, oxygen-free water is generally used, along with oxygen-free 99.999% pure copper. If a large amount of oxygen is in the water, there start to be buildups of gunk in the tiny strands, which can not be cleaned mechanically. You can search "oxygen in stator cooling water" on google and get a few articles. The only way to clean it is with an acid wash, and engineers get nervous about this because if you clean out all the gunk, invariably you have also caused material loss of your copper.

      Which brings me in a very roundabout way back to San Onofre. They did everything right, but kept getting gunk in their copper strands. No oxygen in their water, and the water conductivity was more than high enough (sufficiently pure). And yes, they did check to make sure that water measurements were correct. Nevertheless, they were needing to acid-clean their generator stator copper strands every 2-4 years, which is alarming considering that the average machine only requires such acid cleaning between 0 and 2 times in a 40 year lifespan. Nobody has ever required this much acid cleaning, so the point at which the copper strands become too eroded by the acid is not clear. I'm sure some regulator was watching this very closely because of the huge disaster a water leak can have.

      The only way out of this mess would have been be a new stator, or a rewind. A stator of that size weighs more than can not be transported in once piece, since it weighs at least 2 million pounds (no exaggeration). Building it or rebuilding it on site costs tens of millions of dollars just in labor and windings, not to mention all the lost generation.

      This electrical generator problem certainly didn't sink San Onofre by itself, but it didn't help things either. I suspect there were a few other issues which would require a huge investment of money at a time when California is broke, the utility has a hard time getting a rate increase, and natural gas is cheaper than it has ever been in the US (there are basically 0 operating coal plants in California, although there are some just across state lines which sell exclusively to California). It probably would be cheaper in the long run to repair and refit San Onofre, but when money is tight, short term solutions take priority.

      • by icebike (68054)

        Well I can't speak for the nuclear side of it, but the steam turbines had problems too. One was that they were getting buildup in the generator stator core cooling tubes.
        See, a large steam turbine like this has a really massive electric generator. In most motors that people think of, the windings are made of copper wire.

        Wait, wait, wait...

        What was wrong with San Onofre WAS covered in the various news papers. We don't need to go over that again.

        What this article laments is that the newspapers did not bother to explain the future, how the power needs would be met, what changes this would force on the region when the big boys shut down.

        Rehashing WHY the plant was to be shut down is water under the bridge by now. (Actually, we've all passed a lot of water since then).
        The author is more concerned that the public is unprepare

        • by dbIII (701233)
          Either way the future is unlikely to be a nuclear power plant designed in the 1960s (with one reactor built before 1970 FFS) for much longer. While the lessons of TMI were retrofitted to such things there's not a lot of point keeping them going once running costs start to climb.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      It's just another lame "omg the lights will go out and prices with go up 100%" pro-nuclear scare story. No real insight, just "waaaaaah, my favourite power source is getting shut down because of all the sheeple idiots who don't understand it, waaaaaaaah".

  • From the laundromat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by frog_strat (852055) on Monday July 15, 2013 @06:36PM (#44290425)
    I live quite close to this reactor. I met a guy at the laundromat that said he was working on the reactor. He said they expected vibration along one axis but were seeing it on another, and that was the source of the corrosion. He felt ultimately it was a political move to shut it down. He also wouldn't be surprised if the decision were reversed, when people realize what the shutdown would do to electricity rates (double them).

    In the local stories I have read that there are suspicions about contamination in the ground water under the reactor (it is on a beach FWIW). And there are 3 million pounds of spent fuel there, so hot, that no repository in the US is allowed to take it. I just imagine transporting all that waste by train through the many residential neighborhoods along the track.

    A kayak competition is held very near the reactor where people row out, fall out of the kayak, get back in and row back. A friend took his new underwater camera case to the area, and it is full of small sharks, perhaps there is warm water attracting them.
    • by Spoke (6112)

      He felt ultimately it was a political move to shut it down.

      Utility companies never do anything except for reasons of profit. They simply felt that it would be more cost effective to mothball the plant rather than to try to fix it. The shareholders agreed - their stock price jumped upon the news hitting the wire.

      He also wouldn't be surprised if the decision were reversed, when people realize what the shutdown would do to electricity rates (double them).

      While SONGS provided an important chunk of power while running (about 1GW) it's only a small fraction of generation capacity in the state. It certainly won't double rates and if the utilties try to pass on any of the cost of mothballing the plant to the rate

    • And there are 3 million pounds of spent fuel there, so hot, that no repository in the US is allowed to take it. And there are 3 million pounds of spent fuel there, so hot, that no repository in the US is allowed to take it.

      Which "repository" might that be? Last I heard, Congress had shitcanned the whole notion of building one....

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Teancum (67324)

        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

        • by dbIII (701233)

          Why anybody would object to building such a facility next to the Nevada Test Range is beyond my comprehension

          Apparently that place is a bit wet for vitrified storage but I don't see why they can't find somewhere else uphill from the exact proposed site or somewhere else in the test range area.

          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 jus

          • by Teancum (67324)

            You can't get rid of it all - reprocessing actually generates more waste than you start off with - but you can at least get the really hot stuff out of the waste and make it easier to store what's left over and the now radioactive consumables you've used to get that far. People forget that Uranium has a high melting point and is very strong which makes it difficult to cut up fuel rods, which has made most reprocessing not much more than a proof of concept. It's all got to be done by robots due to how radioactive the fuel rods are.
            One promising alternative is liquid reactors where expired fuel rods and expired weapon material can be thrown into the molten fuel instead of the incredibly expensive and messy operation of reprocessing. The US had a couple of thorium based reactors along those lines but lobbying from the uranium dependant US nuclear lobby let to that work being shut down. The US nuclear industry has eaten it's own children in that way so expect advances to come from elsewhere.

            The Idaho National Laboratory [inl.gov] developed a pretty effective method of reprocessing radioactive waste without much extra waste.... and the stuff that was left over was pretty much low level radiation stuff that could be handled in some of the existing repositories designed for that low-level waste. It does take operating breeder reactors, and the #1 problem with the technology is that it in theory could be used to create bomb-grade material out of the waste products in the same facility. The major concern i

            • by dbIII (701233)
              Those countries have access to plenty of raw material anyway so there's not much point worrying about that aspect, the horse has bolted.
              It appears to me the reason for the very small amount of reprocessing is that Uranium ore is cheap and it's far more expensive to get something useful out of used fuel than it is to get it from the ore.
              Also over the past few decades there has been a great deal of resistance within the civilian nuclear industry to doing R&D. The example I know best is the waste storage
    • It has nothing to do with how "hot" the used fuel is. There is no repository. None. Not a one. There are no fuel reprocessing plants either. ALL reactors are forced to store used fuel on-site. It is an engineering solution to a short sighted political problem.
      • by Jeremi (14640)

        There are no fuel reprocessing plants either. ALL reactors are forced to store used fuel on-site. It is an engineering solution to a short sighted political problem.

        I propose an engineering solution to the engineering solution: Build a breeder reactor on-site that can use the stored fuel/waste to generate power. There, that was easy! :^)

        • There's no engineering in your proposal. It's just an off-the-cuff suggestion. Can't be done at that site, without substantial infrastructure added; and, the fuel would need to be sent out for reprocessing before it could be fed into the breeder. There are no reprocessing plants handling commercial fuel in the United States.
    • by radtea (464814)

      A friend took his new underwater camera case to the area, and it is full of small sharks, perhaps there is warm water attracting them.

      The waters all over southern California are full of small sharks. I've seen them zooming along the breaking waves in La Jolla, far from any nuclear plant. So thanks for the baseless speculation! [Hint: if you want an issue to actually matter, provide a baseline comparison. Don't just say something ridiculous and meaningless like "You can light the water from their tap on fire!!!!" as if that was somehow interesting without any baseline or comparison to contrast it with.]

      San Onofre has always had an excel

      • by Jeremi (14640)

        Don't just say something ridiculous and meaningless like "You can light the water from their tap on fire!!!!" as if that was somehow interesting without any baseline or comparison to contrast it with.]

        Right, baseline: Most people's tap water is not flammable.

      • by rgmoore (133276)

        The problem with nuclear power comes in two forms:

        The increased regulation isn't a separate thing; it's just a reaction to the potentially catastrophic results of a failure. When a small mistake can lead to a catastrophic failure that leaves the region around the plant uninhabitable for decades at the very least, people within the potentially affected area will demand regulations to make sure even small mistakes don't happen. This happens in any field where small mistakes can have terrible consequences on

    • by Anonymous Coward

      just imagine transporting all that waste by train through the many residential neighborhoods along the track.

      It may fortify your courage somewhat to know that one of the tests imposed upon nuclear waste transport containers that would have been bound for Yucca Mountain in Nevada, had the repository not been defeated by politics, was a t-bone collision between a rocket powered locomotive and the waste container. The waste container survived intact. If this is the container that they intend to use for future transport, I wouldn't be too worried.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As long as natural gas and coal can emit CO2 without any penalty to the real cost of that emission, nuclear plants will continue to close. It is funny that every time that nuclear power is brought up that people shake their fists demand that it is able to pay its entire costs, while they never mention the tragedy of commons that is going on with fossil fuel derived power. It is a pity that our ability to do risk analysis and balance alternatives is weighted on whether it can blow up in a scary fashion and r

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday July 15, 2013 @06:56PM (#44290573) Homepage Journal

      As long as natural gas and coal can emit CO2 without any penalty to the real cost of that emission, nuclear plants will continue to close. It is funny that every time that nuclear power is brought up that people shake their fists demand that it is able to pay its entire costs, while they never mention the tragedy of commons that is going on with fossil fuel derived power. It is a pity that our ability to do risk analysis and balance alternatives is weighted on whether it can blow up in a scary fashion and release a radioactive plume versus causing irreversible destruction to the entire planet (but slow enough that only your grandchildren will care).

      Further north, in California you can find a lot of wind turbines, including Shiloh II [wikipedia.org]. I was by the San Luis Reservoir (Pump and Store engergy/water resource) and noticed more turbines are being erected near there (a very windy place.) These 1.5 megawatt turbines are turning up in some amazing places, even solo installations in a rightly situated location, where a land owner can use some power and sell the rest at a tidy profit.

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

      • by Spoke (6112) on Monday July 15, 2013 @07:23PM (#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 rgmoore (133276)

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

        The Santa Anas are the wrong kind of wind for power generation because they blow only part of the time but very strongly when they are blowing. That means you need to build the turbines to be very strong to resist the peak winds, but you won't get to benefit from that strength most of the time. The ideal winds for power generation are more or less constant speed.

        That said, there is a fair amoun

        • by dbIII (701233)
          It doesn't matter if a few windmills are out of action since they are so tiny anyway and they are typically not all in the same spot. That's also how they can be effective despite having relatively short maintainance schedules.
          To get some perspective a single engine from a 1950s jet fighter generates 20MW on takeoff which is about the same as ten large windmills. There's still a few of those jet engines around as backup generators or to burn coal seam gas on site.
  • Economics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Monday July 15, 2013 @07:05PM (#44290635) Homepage Journal
    A rational person would have stopped when they said that economics closed nuclear power. This is the reality. In the US there has been 40 years to prove that nuclear energy is a competitive product. You can blame the government, but it is pretty much bad management of a technology that could work. You can say if the government would only subsidize the product, it would work, but why is government subsidizing a mature technology? In the US it does not seem to be a viable solution.

    Yes coal is a major source of electricity, about 40%, and it is going to get harder with new regulation. But again, like nuclear, the reason we building more coal plants it dogma. People believe it is the best solution. It is certainly a profitable solution. There are tens of thousands of people who are willing to dig coal for a middle class income in working conditions that keep the overall costs low. So we have the job argument, the argument that we can't live without electricity, and the argument that technology will make it cleaner. But that technology is funded by the taxpayer, and maybe we want to do something new that will help us long term, not just keep established corporations in power.

    In any case, the short term future is natural gas, and the long term future is wind, solar, and conservation. This is where the technology is. Building more efficient electronics. Building better turbines and solar cells. Building superconducting batteries, storing energy in elevated mass, flywheels, etc so that we are not generating for peak capacity 24 hours a day, and then throwing away a quarter of it. It is not something that your C level executive understands, it is not something your coal miner wants to go to school to learn, it is not something that is going to transfer millions of dollars of tax payers money directly into the pockets of investors, but it is something that will build the intellectual and long term economic wealth of the country.

    And I mentions conservation. These plants supplied one millions homes in a state of 38 million. That is 2% reduction in capacity. The big thing we need to realize is that energy is neither free nor infinate. We can go and buy a 60" TV that us going to use almost 400KWh in a year, or one that uses under 200. We can browse on our 120 watt computer, or on our 5W tablet. We can turn on the lights in the middle of the day, or not. How much would we need to do to save 2% of the electricity? Who much would be need to do to save 10%?

    • by CHIT2ME (2667601)
      This plant was operating safely and efficiently in the mid 70s when I lived there. At the time the anti-nuke freaks wanted it shut down. Seems like they finally got their way!
    • Re:Economics (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dbIII (701233) on Monday July 15, 2013 @07:36PM (#44290951)

      How much would we need to do to save 2% of the electricity? Who much would be need to do to save 10%?

      In places where it isn't done already (and with the utter joke that is the Californian electricity system they will not have done it), you can save that much by shifting loads that are not time dependant around the clock. Off peak domestic hot water is one (hot water system runs at night since those things retain heat for hours), industrial heating is another (charge less for furnaces running at night), and there's plenty of others to get that daytime load down and stop wasting so much from the base load stations that are already burning stuff at night. It's a policy thing since the control systems have been in use and improving since the 1980s and any hot water systems etc designed for export are going to have the hardware at the user end already.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cheesybagel (670288)

      Actually the reality is that nuclear power is economic over the entire lifetime of a plant, nearly as cheap as coal, and works just fine without particulate emissions.

      Solar power will eventually be interesting enough for grid generation but for now it remains too expensive. Not to mention that these technologies have issues regarding availability. As for storage there have been a lot of people working on it but it neither comes cheap, nor does it come without losses.

      Conservation only works when you actually

      • by dbIII (701233)
        That's the hope but nothing has got there yet which is why banks are not investing in new nuclear construction anywhere on the planet - nothing has provided enough of a return for them to be interest. Give it a few years and some relatively recent plants may get to the point you are describing but unexpected problems in the older plants meant unexpected expenses and poor economic figures over their entire life.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Actually the reality is that nuclear power is economic over the entire lifetime of a plant, nearly as cheap as coal, and works just fine without particulate emissions.

        Only if you ignore all the stuff that the government pays for, like insurance.

    • I am not the expert but what I heard on the news implied that power rates were not averaged out to a state amount, and implied Orange County rates could go up independent of the rest of continental California.
    • by dj245 (732906)

      Yes coal is a major source of electricity, about 40%, and it is going to get harder with new regulation. But again, like nuclear, the reason we building more coal plants it dogma. People believe it is the best solution. It is certainly a profitable solution. There are tens of thousands of people who are willing to dig coal for a middle class income in working conditions that keep the overall costs low.

      Natural gas is actually giving coal a serious run for the money right now. Part is efficiency and part is fuel cost. About the best we can achieve with a coal plant is around 40% efficiency, which is not that bad considering the thermodynamics and represents over 100 years of improvements in the process. Gas-powered combined cycle plants play with the thermodynamics in ways that the coal plant fundamentally can not reach, so they can get 60% efficiency.

      Add to that the fact that natural gas, especiall

    • by tigeba (208671)

      >And I mentions conservation. These plants supplied one millions homes in a state of 38 million. That is 2% reduction in capacity. The big thing we need to realize is >that energy is neither free nor infinate. We can go and buy a 60" TV that us going to use almost 400KWh in a year, or one that uses under 200. We can browse on >our 120 watt computer, or on our 5W tablet. We can turn on the lights in the middle of the day, or not. How much would we need to do to save 2% of the electricity? >Who mu

      • by fermion (181285)
        Yes, I did realize the error after I posted. I used population instead of housing units. The article clearly stated that the plants supplied power to 1.4 million homes, and there are about 14 million housing units in California. So really these plants provide power to 10% of the houses, significant but still not critical, meaning that it enough to mean that there will no longer be excess capacity and rates may go up, but not enough to mean that there will necessarily be rolling blackouts, especially if t
  • Funny thing about the company that made the pipes anti vibration assembly, it was for larger pipes. (I guess using metric was the problem.) The big story in Orange County is, "who is going to pay for this party?" As an Edison customer in the O.C., I hope it's the company that made the pipe assembly and NOT Edison.

    And something else, Anahiem use to own 3% of San'O; I guess it's a warning when Mickey Mouse says, "Bye Gang!".
    • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Monday July 15, 2013 @07:55PM (#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 Anonymous Coward

        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...

        Hmm.. middle income must mean something completely different in the Golden State.

        Here in the midwest, it surely doesn't correspond to gardeners and house maids.

      • by Jeremi (14640)

        Meh, what's another $1000 a year to live in the Golden State.

        Given than it's sunny SoCal, you might look into getting solar panels for your roof, if you have one handy. Depending on financing, the price may be lower than what you're paying now (or what you will be paying in September), and even if it's not, at least the costs will be 100% predictable -- the incidence of unexpected stator corrosion in solar arrays is vanishingly small. ;)

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        I don't know where you live but middle class doesn't have gardeners unless you have a pretty extremely large and poor lower class(at which point the guys with money to hire help are upper class anyways - and the middle class is the guys with enough money to buy food, clothes and some nice things - but not people)..

      • 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...

        That definition does not mean what you think it means; you left off a rather large UPPER descriptor.
        -- a bitter, degreed member of the barely middle class

  • I all for shutting it down...

    ...you know, as a pissy attempt to get the steam turbine manufacturer to come down on price, it was a pretty stupid negotiating tactic, but I have to agree it's their right to shut it down...

    ...you know: as long as the rolling blackouts hit San Diego first.

    Plus, as Chevron has demonstrated, even if you have plenty of fuel, controlling the rate at which you turn that fuel usable is a great way of getting more money by jacking up prices, while simultaneously redu

  • It is a shame we haven't pursued and embraced reactor tech like Thorium fuel cycles and heavy water designs like CANDU that can run on almost any fuel cycle with little issue including natural uranium.
  • Whether it was greed, hubris, or both, the PG&E folks decided they knew better than the original designers and turned the redesign up to 11. They even crowed about their accomplishment in industry publications.
    What could possibly go wrong?
  • This is the worst possible moment in time to move away from nuclear power. Renewables may never reach the point that their energy production matches any decent size gas/coal/oil/nuclear plant. Coal has to go. So many people will talk about natural gas, because now we have so much of it available that prices are low. But the industry doesn't want the general public to know that they have been petitioning the government to export our natural gas. That's right, good old Capitalism wants to win out over energy
  • The plant would stay open under normal conditions- it produces a lot of cheap, baseload electricity- but the new fish intake rules from the Obama administration will add almost one billion dollars in costs, and that is what is really forcing the closure.

    The San Onofre plant is cooled by ocean water via a 3,000 ft long pipe going into the deep ocean. Some fish get sucked into the pipe. New regulations are designed to reduce fish deaths. The easy solution to the fish problem is to put a big screened enclo

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