NRC – San Onofre Damage Seen In Multiple Nuclear Reactors Across United States

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Part 1of our report: Bad News Turns Worse At San Onofre As Pipe Defects Found In Both Units

Part 2of our report: Unprecedented Damage Found In Over 800 Tubes At San Onofre Reactor 2 Alone

Part 3 of our report: San Onofre Contract Worker Fell In Reactor Pool

Southern California Edison  is still investigating the cause of the water leak in its Reactor 3 Steam Generator as the San Onofre Nuclear station enters it’s 4th day of shut-down.  Edison has continued checking the Unit 2 steam generators, but did not have any additional results to report Friday.  It will be days before we have conclusions,” said Edison spokesman Gil Alexander.

Edison has not specified how it is testing the tubes, which are made of Alloy 690 —- a metal made up of high-chromium nickel that is highly resistant to corrosion.

On Thursday, Alexander said that other nuclear power plants with retrofitted steam generators had experienced increased wear in the short period after the upgrades occurred.


Scott Burnell, a spokesman for the NRC confirmed Friday that plants similar in design to San Onofre, which also have large steam generators, have experienced additional wear around brackets that hold up the thousands of thin metal tubes inside.

“Our working hypothesis here is that what we’re seeing at San Onofre is the same sort of phenomenon that we’re investigating at other plants,” Burnell said.

The spokesman said he did not have a full list of U.S. plants that have experienced similar wear, but said that the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant in Florida had experienced a similar amount of wear to its upgraded steam generators.

He also said that the Arkansas Nuclear One plant in Russellville Ark. and the remaining operational reactor at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania experienced heightened steam generator wear, though not to the extent at San Onofre.



Burnell said the NRC is very interested to learn the reason behind the leak in the Unit 3 generator. No replaced generators at other plants have sprung leaks so soon after installation.  He said there may be a completely different cause of the leak in Unit 3 than the accelerated wear issue detected in Unit 2.

“We need to be careful to note that we do not yet know the root cause of what happened at Unit 3,” Burnell said.

Source:  NC Times

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