AP: U.S. Senator wants probe after reading confidential report on sickly California nuke plant — Shows they knew about San Onofre problems beforehand

Published: February 6th, 2013 at 6:11 pm ET



Boxer wants probe at sickly San Onofre nuke plant

California Sen. Barbara Boxer is pressing federal regulators to open a probe into equipment problems at the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant. […]

A statement says the Democrat wants the NRC to investigate what she calls new information that shows Edison and the company that built the plant’s ailing steam generators were aware of design problems before the equipment was installed. […]

LA Times:

Southern California Edison was aware of problems with replacement steam generators at the San Onofre nuclear power but chose not to make fixes, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer charged Wednesday.

Boxer’s office cited a leaked report from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries — the manufacturer of the steam generators — obtained by her office. It is the first indication from government officials that Edison and Mitsubishi knew the now-shuttered system had problems before it was installed.

Boxer and U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) wrote to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane on Wednesday and said the Mitsubishi report “indicates that Southern California Edison (SCE) and MHI were aware of serious problems with the design of San Onofre nuclear power plant’s replacement steam generators before they were installed” and “rejected enhanced safety modifications and avoided triggering a more rigorous license amendment and safety review process.” […]


“This newly-obtained information concerns us greatly,” Boxer and Markey wrote in the letter.

The report is confidential and Reuters was not able to review it.

h/t NuclearHotseat

See also: [intlink id=”gundersen-id-be-very-concerned-lived-around-california-nuke-plant-experiment-waiting-wrong-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: February 6th, 2013 at 6:11 pm ET


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50 comments to AP: U.S. Senator wants probe after reading confidential report on sickly California nuke plant — Shows they knew about San Onofre problems beforehand

  • razzz razzz

    I hope this is not a cover your ass moment for the Senator and a thorough investigation begins. Either that or the NRC and in this case Edison gets off the hook with some kind of wavier.

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      It would be hard to cover this up, since it ran in the LA Times and will not go unnoticed.

      SoCalEdison gambling with the lives of roughly 22 million people in the immediate vicinity, with most of the US and northern Mexico downwind.

      It just gets worse and worse. Jerry Brown will have a hard time burying this mess (his sister works for Goldman-Sachs, so the pressure is going to be great to make this go away).

      The festering rot of corruption, nuclear or otherwise, is finally about to kill us all.

    • norbu norbu

      razzz she did call for a probe….

      • razzz razzz

        When fraud is committed with taxpayer money a criminal probe should be called for.

        Color me skeptical.

        • kez

          I don't have a problem with being skeptical …

          So it would take you 60 seconds to send a not to Boxer saying that and might actually be more effective than just griping here.

          The more noise our govt hears … praise or nays … the more likely it gets moved up on their agenda.

          Try it.

          • razzz razzz

            kez: You are missing the point, nuclear plants are not shutting down because the NRC or Congress investigates them, they are shutting down because they are unprofitable. A business decision.

            At San Onofre, Edison wants to run at a reduced power (60%? their idea for a fix) to try and avoid the problems of rattling pipes together in their brand spanking new steam generators. Problem is, the NRC regs. say NPPs have to qualify at 100% power up to be licensed. If either units at San Onofre had to run at 100% power the same thing that shut them down in the first place would happen again…rattling pipes that eventually thin and leak.

            The nuclear industry comprised of Congress, NRC, EPA, DOE, local operators and lobbyists are a criminal enterprise. When someone goes to jail because of their actions, you let me know. In the meantime, Edison only wants to recover costs even if they have to endanger citizen's lives running units at 25% power output (whatever they can get a way with). How the NRC can even entertain a reduced power proposal is beyond me.

            • kez

              Razzz … even if I said I was 100 per cent wrong … I had completely missed your point … what difference does it make here besides two little squares of conversation in the vast galaxy of little squares of conversation on alt net sites?

              You miss my point actually …

              My little box of rant went to Boxer's overburdened email. If enough little boxes of rants went to our leaders they might pay attention … be they opinions yay or nay.

              It made me feel better. A citizen. Not so much a victim.

              If one tenth the energy spent writing our enormous wisdoms here was directed to speaking up to our representatives as well it might actually accomplish something.

              Thanks again to Stock for inspiring me to make a little step tonight. It has been too long since I have. That embarrasses me.

              IMO it should embarrass a lot of us.

              • razzz razzz

                It may be repetitive to you but new reading to others. I rehash over and over again the same known details in case any new readers happen by. Why? Because without knowing what is going on, they won't know what direction or action to take.

                An article about some Senator acting on a leaked and secret report doesn't tell anybody any useful information.

              • Jay

                Kez , you said " If one tenth the energy spent writing our enormous wisdoms here was directed to speaking up to our representatives as well it might actually accomplish something ." .

                I agree on the principle but I have proof of its futility : almost a kilo of corespondence with all three levels of government over a period of twenty years did NOT achive anything : Canada is still poisoned by pesticides , still member of NATO , it did stay in Afghanistan to the tune of 156 Canadian lives for nothing , there is still no rent control in certain large cities , the food banks are not organized by the government , Canada still exports raw materials like a third world country , still using Fiat currency , etc. etc .

                Let's get this straight : we need a REAL LEADER , uncorruptable , fair , honest , empathic , smart ( a Renaissance person , knows a bit from most ) , not-cocky like JFK , a people's person that trully Cares .
                Oh dear , that's the description of a … communist !! No wonder that Never existed a communist country in recorded history …
                Find that Leader , protect it from assassinations , and you will never had to write a petition again because you'll live in Paradise …

            • bwoodfield bwoodfield

              "The nuclear industry comprised of Congress, NRC, EPA, DOE, local operators and lobbyists are a criminal enterprise"

              Although I don't like the word due because of it's over use, wouldn't the term "conspiracy" be apt here. All of those groups know that nuclear power is long term unprofitable, pollutes the environment and CAN NOT be safely managed regardless of who is doing. Yet because the companies like GE, Westinghouse, Edison, etc all line these government pockets its looked the other way.

        • Time Is Short Time Is Short

          "Color me skeptical." Why, razzz?

          SONGS is a fully union site. All the politicians involved in 'looking' into the corruption there are union supported. So there's no conflict of interest, is there?

          It's a good thing that report didn't end up on a Republican's desk, though. It would have gone straight to the shredder.

          Those people in SoCal are going to get a good screwing, that's for sure.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    They can't predict the next accidents. Planes crash, trains derail, and reactors melt. And a single reactor contaminates our water, air, food, and life. And all for nothing, as we have safe technologies for producing electricity.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    "As Chairman of this Committee, I will continue to hold oversight hearings to ensure that the NRC fully implements the Task Force's safety recommendations and requires that all nuclear plants meet the highest levels of safety to protect the public."

    March 15 2012


    More kissy-kissy with the NRC?
    Hearings like the ones held concerning Fukushima?
    Oct.2 2012

    Boxer Hearing on Nuclear Safety – Excerpts


  • nedlifromvermont

    "Nuclear power plants meet highest levels of safety" are you serious? Can anyone still be serious about nuclear power plants and high levels of safety being in the same sentence together?

    I mean, genius Judge J. Garvan Murtha, U.S. Second Circuit Court, rejected Vermont legislation which passed both houses in Vermont State legislature, to stop Vermont Yankee from continuing to threaten an entire bioregion, because some politicians mentioned safety issues in their deliberations;

    and anything safety-related is solely the purview of the wholly corrupt NRC (toothless toadies to nuclear money spigot) and

    presto-magnifico – Vermont law was invalidated because Vermont representatives dared mention the safety Bugaboo: now Entergy is reversing itself to have any State oversight (Public Service Board review) thrown out, even though they swore up and down eleven years ago they would not do that;

    Hitler's Nazi pals had nothing over these nucleo-fascist naked apes and money whores who call themselves businessmen and scientists …

    What a joke! except it is slowly and not so slowly killing us all, so as a joke it's a tad morbid, to say the least.

    A safe nuclear power plant would be one that either never got licensed and built, or one that is fully decommissioned and green-fielded, with dry casks taken away.

    Safestor': sixty years of stranded spent fuel cooling in an upper deck pool, is not SAFE. THIS IS JUNK MARKETING not science!

    peace …

  • I wrote the below to senator Boxer, her direct email can be found here

    Senator Boxer,

    Good work on further investigation into the San Onofre. It looks clear that the various parties covered up important safety information, beyond the basic dis-respect that they showed to the NRC and great State of California by lying that the new heat exchangers were a “like for like” replacement when in fact they were far from it.

    Now these lies are turning into ratepayer costs and egg on the face of everyone who regulates and oversees the nuclear. Don’t let them do this to you, dig in and find out and publish. And penalize, heavily, or the industry will keep doing it, and by it, I mean reckless endangerment.

    Thank you so much for protecting our health and investing in factual green energy sources, not Nuke.


    • kez

      Thanks Stock. While *NO* politician is perfect Boxer gets scrappy and not afraid to bring it on when she has a fire. I don't think she would make this statement now unless she has credible goods on SONGS scandal.

      I will write as well …

      Take care.

      • kez

        And that's how long it took me to write to her.

        Challenge others here to become activist as well (call if you want).

        Take care.

    • kez

      And Rep Markey's email here:


      Think about sending him a note in support or tell him you think all govt officials are in bed w nukes just make some noise on this issue as well.

      I did … err … on the thank you for support side.

  • We Not They Finally

    Most people don't know it,but Ed Markey (who co-wrote this request with Barbara Boxer) is THE most committed anti-nuclear activist in Congress. We're totally rooting for him to win the Senate seat in Massachusetts just vacated by John Kerry.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I wonder why the report has to remain confidential.
    Here is one that is not.
    Root cause evaluation: Unit 3 Steam Generator Tube Leak and Tube to Tube wear
    5/7 2012


  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    And another..
    Far Outside the Norm-San Onofre Steam Generator Problems In the Context of the National Experience With replacement Steam generators.
    Sept.12 2012


  • Three Eleven Eleven Three Eleven Eleven

    >> "California Attorney General Kamala Harris has entered the fray over who ultimately will bear the costs of a prolonged shutdown at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station."


    >> Excellent KPBS broadcast on San Onofre (includes Arnie Gundersen, etc.)


    • KPBS broadcast:

      "I evacuated from Japan in April of 2012 after working and raising my two daughters there for 27 years. And I cannot stress enough that the three nuclear reactors in Fukushima continue to melt down, releasing tons and tons of radioactive runoff into the Pacific ocean every day for the last year and nine months. And I think that a lot of us, contrary to popular belief, this disaster is nowhere near being over. While the Japanese government and the company owning it, the entity responsible for the meltdowns, the same contamination. They're still too hot to cap…"
      – Kathy from Solana Beach on phone.
      (from article)

    • razzz razzz

      From Three Eleven Eleven's link to the San Diego UT article at the comments section is Roger Herried February 1 at 1:49pm, laying out what the possible problems are with California's AG entering the picture for San Onofre's nuclear units. Does a nice job of connecting the dots. Pretty much puts the SDUT reporting to shame.


  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Allegation – NRC AIT Report Incomplete, Inconclusive, Inconsistent and Unacceptable


  • razzz razzz

    If there was such a thing as a 'professional cynic', that would be me.

    Forgetting the leaks at San Onofre for a second, the underlying current afoot is to use legal language to pass (further) costs unto the ratepayers for Edison's mistakes or the plant site will be unprofitable and will need to be shut down.

    This argument about San Onofre being necessary seems mute as we just got through one summer without its power generation plus the locals still had to pay for the site not functioning.

    Lost in all this is that the plant leaked and had to be shut down. Just because people weren't immediately dropping dead on the streets is no excuse to minimize leaks.

    The steam generators are junk piles but have to be disposed of as radioactive waste.

  • homeenergyexpert homeenergyexpert

    When you take the Nuke Pac Lobby big bucks you can't expect a no problem Nuke Plant. If it was a perfect business they would not need to bribe every Senator/Congressman/Presidental Candidate and our Obamanation White House excuse for a President, who lets our forces in Japan die a little every day in Nuclear fallout and our nation eat radioactive untested West Coast food loaded with Cesium 137, Strontium 90, Uranium 234 and 238.

  • kez

    I have read the responses above. I don't know who to link this to so will just post my rebuttal here.

    With respect, and mindful that posters here seem to think there is value in our little boxes of rants to the outside world I would honestly wonder about this thread.

    The *overwhelming* Eeyore mentality of we are all doomed anyway … everything and everyone is corrupt … nothing can be done … don't even bother to try …

    Posters here intent on completely negating the good news that two Senators have taken note and are requesting further investigation in the SONGS scandal.

    OK … so don't send a message to Boxer or Markey encouraging them on this path. Send them a message that you don't believe at all in their integrity and any other govt officials for that matter.

    And even as this site has championed the work of Gundersen, who has worked extensively with the SONGS antinuke groups …

    … please let Mr. Arnie Gundersen and Fairewinds and the other activists for shuttering SONGS know as well that they are wasting their time because this is all so hopeless and nothing can be done, even with Boxer and Markey on their side in requesting a review now.

    I am sure Arnie would appreciate hearing that his work has been a total exercise in futility and a waste of his time (and Ene's time as well apparently).

    And to all those masses out there the pundits here feel they are educating …

    (1 more)

    • kez

      Don't bother to try to do anything. It's all over; just c'mon in and join the old fart bitch fest until you die. The place where we say we care about our grandkids future but we can't actually bother to send an email or make a phone call.

      What could it hurt to try? Honestly I did. Made me feel better than just spitting into the wind here.

      Ok … way too much rant for me tonight. Head hurts.

      Take care.

    • kez

      * correction: Sen Boxer and Rep Markey; not two Senators.

  • kez

    Historical timeline / one year (newest first)

    Sen. Boxer, Rep. Markey release nuclear safety bombshell exposing collusion at San Onofre Friends of the Earth applauds congressional action, demands leaked document be released to public Published on Feb 7, 2013 -9:04:48 AM

    Friends of the Earth's expert Arnie Gundersen defends emergency enforcement petition on San Onofre 2 & 3 steam generator failures


    • kez

      Environmental group demands full San Onofre review June 18, 2012

      An environmental group filed a legal petition with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday to keep the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant closed pending extensive review by regulators and the public. …

      The Friends of the Earth petition also accuses the NRC of turning a blind eye toward the plant, saying that the agency "willingly acceded" to Edison's "attempt to avoid any public review of its decision to install significantly different steam generators built by a company that was unfamiliar with the particular needs of a steam generator in the San Onofre type of reactor." …

      Arnie Gundersen, a consultant for Friends of the Earth, argued that some of the design changes –including the addition of more tubes and the removal of a support structure –may have led to the unusual wear on the steam generator tubes. …


  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I guess my point is..
    Is Boxer going to promote the high dollar fix …suggested by the NRC.
    Has she learned enough yet to realize that nuclear reactors unsafe and need to closed?

  • kez

    Hi HOTR,

    And I guess *my* point is … why don't you (and others) take ten minutes and send Sen Boxer and Rep Markey a note telling them exactly those thoughts …

    What possible harm could come from it and what if anything could my answer to your question possibly mean here except another little box of useless text going off into alt net space?

    Send off a little box of text that might actually hold some hope of change every now and then.

    Or rant to Boxer face to face so to speak.

    Or send Arnie and FOE a note of encouragement or tell them you think it ain't never gonna be. Too pie in sky … whatever.

    But honestly what good does any Ene comment do if it just sits uselessly here? BFD if we all get smarter if we don't use it somehow to make things better instead of just … sorry to be crude … the usual circle jerk instead of some action every now and then.

    Take care.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Hi Kez..What gives you the idea that the activism of others is confined to Enenews.
    This is a news blog..a matter of posting.
    Once in awhile a big name comes through here..they did something..ya.
    But that should not discredit the hard-work of thousands of individuals in this process.
    EVEN..if there activity is nothing more than trying to awaken one's own neighbor to the issues at hand.
    To soothe you..let me say..I have written Markey several times.
    He has announced his bid for Senate..many are looking forward to doing the bidding of the Democrats and Obama.
    The concept doesn't sound appealing.
    I've written him enough to have a soft heart for him..and hope he is truly trying to push through.
    How do you know what other people do for the cause.
    Haven't you ever read my blog?
    You don't even know who you are talking to on this blog.

    And ..listen..I listened to the Boxer led NRC Fukushima hearings.
    Has she come clean about Fukushima?
    I say.. she purposely failed to ask the right questions.
    Does she go by what the NRC says?
    Is that healthy?
    Like I said time will tell.
    Anyone..anyone that thinks that the new safety provisions 'learned' from Fukushima…can control or prevent what happened at Fukushima is mad.
    Retrofitting reactors..on geologically unstable ground is mad.
    (this including the work at Fukushima)

    Let's see what happens..money is involved.

    • kez

      HOTR … sorry to reply on a dead thread …

      My point was simply that for all the time ENE users write bitch boxes why not write some occasionally to the officials who might actually be able to change things.

      And to your response here finally … thank you. Glad to know you have actively corresponded w Rep Markey.

      Why string me along thru at least 3 back and forths on this? Why not just up front at first?

      Esp when you express some connect w him.

      Seems a useless waste of games exchange between us IMO. How would I even know that part of your history or know of a blog unless you put up here.


      Take care.

  • NoNukes NoNukes


    Since you think it is so "useless" to type in the little boxes here, you should stop first.

    • kez


      You are not far off on that actually.

      Thanks for the reminder about the value of my time here.

      Take care.

  • RichardPerry

    Some people must go to jail.

  • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

    I sent emails to congressmen,state reps,local politicians and the d-head in-chief along with signing petitions in addition to my efforts here on ENE,etc. I was "rewarded" with investigations into every aspect of my life,computers invaded & destroyed and most recently they've shifted their focus & attention to my sick & dying wife since nothing else besides an epidemic of incompetence in every bureau & govt. agency associated with her cancer,asthma & numerous other health issues & treatment that led to a "glitch" that put her into the hospital TODAY after her Medicaid & then Medicare BOTH rejected claims & payment for her meds for going on 2 months now and had us scrambling to pay OUT OF OUR POCKET for the life-saving medications that we can't come close to paying for without becoming homeless(again)!!(?) IMO and that of more than one of the health care professionals treating her conditions agree that "markers" present and the location of where we live are very likely the cause of her illness & suffering(?)!! They'd better plan on taking me out too when she dies because I've sworn an oath on the lives & graves of my most beloved-EVEN MY DOG to take certain scuzzballs with me AND simultaneously bring attention to just how "UN-secure" their filthy NPP's really are when I finally lose my last few "GOOD" reasons left to live! They've probably ALREADY "taken me out too" though and "lucky" I'm too focused on caring for my wife now-one of their "victims"(?)!!~…

    • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

      I have more than a "hunch" that TPTB actively researches those of us who oppose their most disgusting,harmful,"favorite" toxic technologies & poisons and policies and "digs" until they find the ways they can effectively give us "more" to worry about than their collusion with those who poison for profit and exploit any faults,old judgements,legal & financial civil matters,etc. to come down HARD on anyone who opposes them & adds themselves to their "shit-list" in an intentional effort to discredit & "get rid of" opposition! If there's any "skeletons in the closets" of anti-nuke activists be aware that they'll find it & use it against you and I can attest to that and the fact that they'll go after that which you treasure most when they can't find enough dirt to bury us personally!! I can also PROMISE them that in my case at least PISSING ME OFF more will only inspire me to "graduate" to the "next" level until "I" find that which holds the most promise towards MY agenda~"SHUTTING ALL OF THE MF'ers DOWN"!!!! NUKES & THE PUKES WHO PROMOTE THEM SUCK!! 😐 ~**

      • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

        To my fellow ENEWSER's who stand with me against the insanity that IS the continuation of their foul,half-tamed technology and incompetent operation aided & abetted by our own disloyal govt.'s & worthless, even harmful deceptive mainstream media propaganda divisions of the offending corporations even after the physical proof that their stubborn refusal to have the brakes IMMEDIATELY put on the entire international collection of deadly toxic,clap-trap,old facilities still being pushed beyond design parameters & output levels even after the 2nd largest radioactive fountain of death on the planet literally exploded in their ugly faces exposing their desire to allow their actions to be directly responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of innocent people & irreplaceable plant/animal species forever lost following wretched ways to die un-natural deaths yet the most obvious & chilling "final" lesson went unheeded as the 2-year mark approaches fast with the spigots of death still all cracked wide-open or are stuck wide open with no on/off switch ever included or even invented yet and the spigots spew on… I apologize for my endless tirades spewing my own inflammatory, abrasive & venomous rants for nearly as long but NOT to 99% of who/what I directed & channeled my contempt at, although I'm sorry for adding to the angst & heartache of all you great people of good heart & upbringing! I wish I had a way to spare everyone this pain & those who don't know what they face! 🙁

        • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

          correction to last sentence;"I wish I had a way to spare everyone this pain we carry with us including those who don't yet know what they WILL face"!! Take Care & Best Wishes ALL~ I gotta get back to the hospital for a couple days & hope to be back online by 311! 🙂 PEACE