Officials: Sabotage at California’s San Onofre nuclear plant?

Published: November 9th, 2012 at 12:25 pm ET


Title: San Onofre Officials Investigating Case of Potential Sabotage
Source: Voice of OC
Date: November 9, 2012

Officials at the idled San Onofre nuclear power plant are investigating why coolant was found in an important piece of safety equipment during recent maintenance and are trying to determine whether it was an accident or sabotage, according to federal regulators and the plant’s operator.

Plant officials told regulators on Oct. 30 that they discovered coolant mixed with oil that helps run an emergency diesel generator in Unit 3, federal and utility officials confirmed Thursday.

“They don’t know right now how the coolant got in there,” said John Reynoso, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector at San Onofre. […]

The failure of emergency generators at Fukushima was cited as one of several factors in that plant’s meltdown last year. […]

If the coolant had been left in place and the generators activated, Edison believes the governor, which controls the generator’s speed and prevents it from running too fast, would have failed, Reynoso said. […]

See also: [intlink id=”report-original-investigators-concluded-sabotage-triggered-three-mile-island-disaster-audio” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: November 9th, 2012 at 12:25 pm ET


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26 comments to Officials: Sabotage at California’s San Onofre nuclear plant?

  • lickerface lickerface

    There's some interesting history about this particular California plant. Read about it here:

    They've been cited before for problems with the generators. Saying that someone is possibly sabotaging the equipment is suspect with the previous record IMO.

    "Southern California Edison states the station was "built to withstand a 7.0 magnitude earthquake directly under the plant".[22] Additionally, there is a 25-foot tsunami wall to protect the plant from a rogue wave that could be potentially generated by the active fault 5 miles offshore" <— I call the BS flag on this one. Just because this plant would withstand a 7.0 quake doesn't mean there wouldn't be failure with the plant overall due to generator failure. "Withstand" is so vague. Visually it might withstand.. sure.

    • lickerface lickerface

      As of July 2012, the cost related to the shutdown has reached $165 million, with $117 million of that being the purchasing of power from other sources to replace the output of the plant.[19] As a result, the Chairman of Edison International Ted Carver has stated that there is a possibility that reactor 3 may be scrapped as "It is not clear at this time whether Unit 3 will be able to restart without extensive additional repairs".[19] In August 2012, Southern California Edison announced plans to lay off one-third, or 730, of the plants employees; the company said that the downsizing of the plant staff was planned more than two years ago. Rochelle Becker, of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, said that the layoffs show that the company is not being honest about their plans for the power plant.[6][20] Due to the shutdown, the NRC ended requirements to monitor non operating systems.[11]

      In September 2012, Allison Macfarlane, the NRC Chairwoman, said that plant will be down for a prolonged period, and that the fuel from Unit 3 will be removed in September 2012, due to significant damage to the unit; Southern California Edison stated, through its spokeswoman, that it is planning to send a restarting plan for NRC approval in October 2012.[21]

    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      30 Ways The Nuclear Industry Deceives Everyone; via A Green Road

      Fukushima; Today's Titantic and Costa Concordia; via A Green Road

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    I've been expecting this meme to be trotted out sooner or later: Be afraid, be very afraid… bad people might want to sabotage the nuke plants.

    If it's true… all the more reason to shut them down.

    If it's not true… mere human error vulnerability… all the more reason to shut them down.

    The risk is intolerable either way.

  • Tumrgrwer Tumrgrwer

    Californian's can't build Nuclear Reactors, to busy amusing them•selves to death. This one is mirroring Rancho Seco…to many dollars to fix the junk and it gets to expensive and then the people vote to shut it down. Hopefully never to start again.

  • Cisco Cisco

    The primary reason the NRC continues to relicense its old NP's is that once they don't, the costs to decommission them will be exposed. The average cost to decommission a NP, one without a prior incident/accident, is over $100 billion dollars. When the customers and the tax payers get a whiff of that, and have to pay for it because it bankrupts the utility, there will be a rude awakening.

  • markww markww

    Wonder if they hired Muslim terrorists that wish to blow up the USA


    • lickerface lickerface

      I think with this scenario, it's simply a poor NPP operation with disgruntled workers.

      I bet an inspector saw something wrong, and maybe the superiors at the plant decided to say it had to be sabotage so they'd be off the hook. The working climate at this plant appears to be one which the workers are afraid of the superiors, and things often go unreported. A superior operator wouldn't risk admitting the workers under him/her are making mistakes. It's easier to say it was sabotage by someone else. It still could be sabotage by an employee though.

      It is horrible that a NPP has workers afraid of bringing up safety issues folks. What could be more wrong than that?!? That essentially makes these workers enslaved. I wouldn't trust any news coming from the mouths of the bosses at this place.

    • The Blue Light.

      No, these idiots would have hired some Hindu terrorists by mistake.
      Mmm.. Water in the coolant yer say…could be a gasket.

  • dosdos dosdos

    It's probably the result of a bad hangover, someone adding the wrong fluid on a bleary Monday morning. And of course after a huge cry of sabotage, he's naturally not going to fess up. This type of error is far more costly than terrorism, because it's far more common. I have seen technology gone painfully awry because the boss hired some Bozo he liked because he wore a certain uniform, went to a certain school, etc. You'd probably be surprised just how dumb business is.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Human error caused Chernobyl. And human error, along with mechanical failure, caused the Three Mile Island disaster. Quakes, tsunami, human error, mechanical error, and a whole list of others, many we haven't yet experienced, cause nuclear disasters. Each reactor on our planet is a threat to all life.

  • weeman

    Coolant in a combustion engines oil, sounds like a cracked block or head gasket wonder if they put it through compression test easy or are they speculating again to coverup their shoddy preventive maintenance, I expect.

    • weeman

      I see that all you educated people have never fixed a combustion engine, no comments, never got your hands dirty to smart ha, the secret is equilibrium, you cannot change something in cyber space you must actually get up of that seat and physically do some thing, that is your down fall, did I hit a nerve, no malice intended but take a look at yourself, you can do better. Stand up for your rights.

  • lickerface lickerface

    If I were to hire people to work under me at a power plant, I'd want someone who was only enthusiastic about the pay. Otherwise they'd not apply if they really knew about the risks involved. If the workers cared a lot about their own health, would they even apply? I'd never want to be around those things. I'm not trying to say that anyone here with experience with NPP work is unintelligent whatsoever – we appreciate those of you who have worked in this field and we appreciate your contributions to the community. I have noticed that those who have worked there were employed a long time ago when risks were downplayed more than they are today. Nowadays, who is going to apply for a "Fukashima-position"? Maybe only those ignorant of reality and those who believe authority 100%?

  • Jebus Jebus

    Being a heavy equipment mechanic on diesel engines for 30+ years and depending on what brand, model, and year of those diesel generators and taking into account how long they sit static next to the most corrosive environment on the planet, I would be more apt to suspect a liner leak with coolant in the oil. A quick leak down test of the coolant system would determine this fact. I can not believe how stupid they think the general public is to believe that the coolant would just sit there in the govenor housing, when I'm sure they are running these engines once a month to keep them up to specs, right? OR, do they just let those generators sit there next to the pacific ocean, hoping they will start, warmup, and run effectively, when the shit hits the fan?
    Unbelievable ineptness on the part of these idiots and the clowns at the Nobody Really Cares government agency.
    Shut The Damn Radiation Plants Down Forever! We Dont Need Them!

    • Radio VicFromOregon

      Jebus, just a thought. Most reporters are not going to know what you know when they go out to see about the story. They really appreciate it when someone can point out this type of knowledge that really can only come with experience. That is essentially a type of "source" or "expert" that remains nameless but guides the reporter through the maze. They just can't become experts themselves for every story they cover. Send the LA Times or an even more local paper a quick email to the news editor, maybe either the environment or science section. It might just instigate a further phone call from a reporter to the plant and to NRC, or at least, be filed away until something further happens. Either way, your info will be valuable to them. Without it, the reporter essentially has to accept what the plant operator or the NRC says. And, this leads to a high level of under-reporting of facts. This could be one of those times that a few people make all the difference. Worth a try?

  • razzz razzz

    Guess you can't be held liable for lying, huh?

    Yeah, those pesky lawn gnomes bypassed our security systems and ruined our nuke plant.

    Just like the Stuxnet virus downed the '60/'70 legacy systems at Fukushima.

    I think 'cracked' better rethink his costs of ending nuke plants by including: Where do you put the spent fuel and for how long?

    No one ever mentions Hanford alongside the most deadly river on the planet, the Columbia River.

    If you haven't heard yet, with anything nuclear, the vitrification process doesn't work either (encasement by glass). The nuclear rays eventually break the glass down, creating nuclear dust.

    I'll fix 'cracked' links in the next post.

    • razzz razzz

      The link is not all encompassing of costs involved in making a nuclear plant and its nuclear wastes disappear. The chain reaction can stop but decay heat continues and daughter byproducts with their irradiation are pretty much forever, relatively speaking as compared to a human lifespan.

      Haven't included generational medical costs and care to the delight of nuclear apologists, it is hard to prove the source of the suffering.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Diesel engines didn't help Chernobyl or Three Mile Island because each and every nuclear disaster has a different cause. San Onofre could take out a good section of California, and (if or when) it happens, based on past nuclear disasters, the cause will be a new and (completely unpredictable) set of circumstances. This is fact, based on our history of nuclear accidents. The concept of using nuclear reactors is a failed one, as history has already proven. Btw, this effects you (personally), because the last meal you had today contained cesium, thanks to the nuclear industry.