FROM Dave Lochbaum
After San Onofre, What's Next? San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has two nuclear reactors under those big domes you see when you drive south of San Clemente on Interstate 5. Now that the power plant has been shut down , Southern California Edison needs new sources for one-fifth of Southern California's electrical power. It also has to get rid of the plant itself, including components that will be highly radioactive for a very long time.
San Onofre: the Nuclear Plant in LA's Backyard Southern California Edison's website calls the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station 's two reactors the region's "largest and most reliable sources of electricity." Not any more. Since January, both reactors have been shut down because of unexpected wear on thousands of tubes carrying water that transfers heat from the nuclear cores to generate power. Restoration of full power won't happen soon, if at all. But Edison wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to let it fire up one reactor to 70 percent of capacity for five months and then stop for an inspection. With some 8.4 million people living within a 50-mile radius of San Onofre, that's raised a storm of protest. Edison plans to answer questions tonight at a public meeting in Dana Point.
How Safe Are America's Aging Nuclear Power Plants? America's nuclear power plants are aging. The anticipated lifetime originally was about 40 years, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is allowing them to be re-licensed for 20 more. Now a year-long investigation by the Associated Press reports that the NRC works with the industry to weaken safety standards, or fail to enforce them, in order to keep the plants running. Accidents at nuclear plants may be extremely rare, but when they happen, they're devastating. Are regulators in the US doing all that it takes to prevent another Fukushima-type incident from happening here?
How Safe Are America's Aging Nuclear Power Plants? The ongoing disaster at Fukushima has focused attention on the safety of nuclear power plants in the United States. Could a similar accident happen here? The nuclear industry says there's only been one "safety-significant" incident since 2001, and that was nine years ago. But the nuclear plants are aging. The anticipated lifetime originally was about 40 years, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is allowing them to be re-licensed for 20 more. Now a year-long investigation by the Associated Press reports that the NRC works with the industry to weaken safety standards, or fail to enforce them, in order to keep the plants running. The probability of a nuclear accident is very low, but the consequences can be catastrophic. Have the industry and its regulators become complacent?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.