Posts Tagged ‘nuclear accident’

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reporting that a “small” amount of radioactive gas may have leaked at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in Southern California.

The San Onofre plant is on the Pacific Ocean coast near San Clemente north of San Diego. It consists of two units, No. 2 and No. 3. No. 1 was shut down permanently in 1992. It is one of two nuclear plants that generate electricity in Southern California; the other is the Diablo Canyon plant in San Luis Obispo County.

The Unit 3 reactor at the plant was shut down Tuesday night after a possible leak was detected in one of the unit’s steam generator tubes.  The company and federal regulators say the release would not have posed a safety risk for the public, but we’ve heard that before (can you say TEPCO/Fukushima/the Japanese government one year ago?) so we will keep an eye on this one.

Unit No. 2 at San Onofre was already offline for maintenance and refueling.  In September, the failure of a major tranmission line between Arizona and California caused the Onofre reactors to go offline automatically.

And folks carry on about renewables being unreliable.

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In a series of investigative stories, the Associated Press (AP) has been reporting on the state of the US nuclear industry in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.  In this recent report, the AP found that as America’s nuclear power plants have aged, the once-rural areas around them have become far more crowded and much more difficult to evacuate.

Even as nuclear plants run at higher power, posing more danger in the event of an accident, populations around the facilities have swelled as much as 4½ times since 1980.  At the same time estimates of evacuation times have not been updated in decades.  Emergency plans would direct residents to flee on antiquated, two-lane roads that clog hopelessly at rush hour. And evacuation zones have remained frozen at a 10-mile radius from each plant since they were set in 1978.

With about 120 million people, almost 40 percent of all Americans, living within 50 miles of a nuclear plant (using 2010 Census data) this scenario smacks of human tragedy, for any nuclear accident in this country.

Click here to read this segment of AP’s investigative study of Nuclear Power in America.

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