Thursday, May 15, 2014

San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Threatened by Wildfire

Subtitle: Power Outage Doomed Fukushima - is San Onofre Next? 

The nuclear power plant in San Onofre in Southern California, now shut down permanently, today announced it was evacuating non-essential personnel in advance of a wildfire that threatens the plant.  see link.

From the article, "The fires do not pose a safety issue at San Onofre at this time, but we continue to coordinate with regional agencies to ensure we remain apprised of evolving conditions."   This is code-speak for "these wildfires can get out of hand quickly, with the high temperatures and high winds."

With the San Onofre plant shut down, there are still electrical loads to maintain cooling water pumps in service that keep spent fuel in the cooling pools sufficiently cool.  This was a problem at Fukushima, as they had no electrical power after the earthquake and tsunami, and their emergency generators were flooded.  

It would not take much for the wildfires to burn near or under the transmission lines that bring power to the San Onofre plant.  It is certainly hoped that this does not happen.  But, if it were to happen, it is also hoped that the plant management has ample supplies of diesel fuel with which to run the emergency generators to keep the spent fuel properly cooled.  

The last thing California needs is a nuclear radiation release from San Onofre, with the resulting evacuation of millions of local residents. 

Someone should put in a call to Chevron, or ExxonMobil, or one of the other oil companies, and order up a couple of tank-trucks of diesel fuel to be brought on-site and kept there just in case.   

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

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