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San Onofre's Closure: What Was Missed 88

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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  • From the laundromat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by frog_strat ( 852055 ) on Monday July 15, 2013 @07:36PM (#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 Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday July 15, 2013 @07:51PM (#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 ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday July 15, 2013 @07:56PM (#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 []. 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.

  • Re:Economics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Monday July 15, 2013 @08:36PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @12:31AM (#44292879)

    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.

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