San Onofre, RIP (no more nukes)

San Onofre

"No news is good news" went right out the window last Friday. San Onofre's nuclear power plant has announced it will close permanently.

After failed and costly equipment swaps and steam generator failures, So Cal Edison threw in the towel. A half billion in unpaid bills is its legacy.

To say that this is incredibly great for the people of LA, Orange County and San Diego is an understatement of enormous proportions. As the residents of Fukushima, Chernobyl or Three Mile Island might tell you, a nuclear power plant is not conducive to the well being of anyone. The former nuke plant was, like Onofre, proximitous to a fault line and as the disaster in Japan unfolded, surely the people of Carlsbad and Oceanside could feel their guts tighten--well, no more.

Nuclear power--for all of its "bang for the buck''--is yet another taxpayer subsidized disaster. And even Edison admits that with moderate conservation, the plant's customers may make it through summer as they seek an alternative.

Not to pound the too obvious drum, but as Onofre already has generator infrastructure and is adjacent to uninhabited and bare field and hills, why not do what the Antelope Valley is doing? Cover the giant bubble in panels and kick out the sunny jams. Cover those barren hillsides in same. Given that the cost of solar has plummeted and liability insurance at about nil, it's about time.

SoCal Edison is loathe to do this, as it does usher in their eventual demise. But the future is headed that way no matter what they think. And with San Onofre down, the trad surfers, the fisherman, the beach lovers--can all return. We won!


the world, and citing the two or three high-profile failures (from which, incidentally, very few people died) is prejudicial in the extreme.

I cannot comment on this particular plant but all power stations have finite durations so, in the bog picture, this is noise. Between nuclear and shale, we have massively reduced our dependency on mid-east oil, and I for one am happy about that.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

From Chernobyl? You gotta be fookin kiddin. Some studies say as many at 985,000 deaths are linked to that nuke disaster. ( There will be, ultimately, thousands of deaths linked to Fukushima. Nuclear accident deaths aren't like car crash deaths or even other industrial accidents; they're caused by an increase in radiation that causes cancer in humans -- but not that week or that month or even that year. You increase the level of background radiation humans are exposed to, and you increase the number that will die from cancer. Can you prove any individual is dead today because of radiation released in Fukushima? No. Can you reliably predict that thousands of additional cancer deaths will occur because of it? Yes.

Posted by tim on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

linked to the incident since they could also be explained by many other factors.

So it is mere conjecture on your part.

And, last time I checked, we don't live in the Ukraine.

Nuclear is clean and sustainable, which is why SF voters have always voted to retain PG&E, with their sustainable nuclear-sourced power, over more expensive so-called "safer" public power sources.

Ask me if I trust a city bureaucrat with my safety.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

You sound like a total shill.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

I do prefer them as a power supplier though, certainly over any public entity. I am very comfortable with nuclear power and will not be subscribing to the Shell allegedly green power scam.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 5:23 am

We'll see how many of your fellow San Franciscans join you.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 7:03 am

will prefer PG&E over Shell, not that it makes that much difference.

Nice to see you favouring a foreign business over a domestic one though. Then again, you hate America.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 8:45 am

As Johnny has shown, nuclear is a costly venture. Just building them is very expensive....much more than traditional generating plants and far and away more expensive than solar or wind. Plus, maintaining them is uber-costly, given that we have to store the waste. They have never been cost effective. They are just profit effective for those who build them, provide maintenance material and the storage of the waste.

Posted by klmchale on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 7:01 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 5:24 am

"Bog picture".

First time in your life you're right. Congrats.

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

I'll continue to feel confident that I can prevail in any debate here at the same time as finishing the NY Times crossword.

Posted by anon on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

So far, the only thing you ever prevail at is interjecting your weird obsession with black males into every topic.

Why is that?

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 2:47 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

You won the right to pay the enormous costs of decommissioning the plant through decades of higher energy bills. Some victory.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

were made by governments he helped elect, and which he now has to pay to fix.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

They were bleeding money to the tune of over a billion dollars last 3 or 4 years.

Not to mention their insurance, paid by taxpayers.

A disaster waiting to happen never happened and stopped hemorrhaging money.

Yes, that is some victory.


Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

to indent replies under the post which you are replying to.

It really cannot be that hard, and undermines your credibility if readers think you cannot understand how to do it.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

decommissioning is free. Yes, the cost will be borne by rate payers. I understand in your world you think everything is free but in the REAL world shit costs money. In all likelihood this plant will be replaced by a gas burning plant with a subsequent rise in carbon emissions.

There ain't no free lunch in energy production. Solar plants disrupt the desert ecosystem, wind turbines chop up birds, coal is dirty and horrible to mine etc..

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

It is being decommissioned because SCE cannot AFFORD TO REPAIR IT! It's because when nuclear goes bad, it goes really, really bad. SCE knows that if a Fukishima happens, they will be sued into oblivion. Especially if they have been trying to repair it. Nuclear has never been cheap. The cost to build them (on the back of taxpayers, never on the backs of energy companies) is more than tradition or green energy.

Posted by klmchale on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

This next generation reactor will be popping up like mushrooms all over the world in the next decade. San Onofre was a relic from a prior era and needed to be scrapped. Nice to see Johnny and his fellow wind/solar goofballs still clinging to their dreams though. It's cute, like a sneezing panda or a monkey drinking its own pee.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 5:46 am

It's not taxpayer subsidized so much as it's future generation subsidized. Criminally(and I mean crime against humanity), long term legacy costs of nuclear power weren't included in the deceptively low price of the electricity generated. Even now the desperately deluded cling to the idea that a reported paltry $3billion decommissioning trust fund will make even a small dent in the cost of stroring highy radioactive spent fuel for a million years. Descendants will probably curse us for hedonistically gorging at their huge expense.

Outrageously, despite having seventeen hugely overfunded National Laboratories allegedly directed toward solving the nasty problem, we still haven't even determined how to safely and securely store the waste and most of it sits dangerously exposed in pools on site awaiting transfer to dry storage casks on site with only a 30-100 year lifetime. The liklihood is slim that any long term storage strategy will ever be agreed upon and it's dreadfully probable that civilization will, possibly imminently, collapse before spent fuel is safely disposed.

In the orgy of nihilistic chaos sure to follow our creaky civlization's decadent collapse, it's not difficult to imagine spent fuel rods migrating from their San Onofre pools to wreak environmental havoc in the horrific radioactive wake of escaped antisocial pyschopathic tweakers enjoying the mother of all parties.

Also, for simplicity's sake, round San Onofre to 1000MW which equals 1000 million Watts or rather 1 billion Watts and let's calculate how much it would cost to replace that electrical capacity using photovoltaic solar cells. Although manufacturing costs have dropped incredibly, installation costs have not and although the lowest reported installation cost brings solar in at around $2/Watt, let's pretend with efficiency of size that we do it for $1/Watt. So, for $1billion we would be able to buy 1000MW of electrical production capability. But only during the day when the sun shines. We would still need a method of generating electricty at nighttime. Coal? Oil? Cheap fracked gas? Wind? The thumbrule is that 10Watts of solar electricity can be generated per square foot of solar cell area which would require at least 100 million sqaure feet for 1000MW which equals 2,295 acres. But the San Onofre facility sits on only about 300 acres. It's difficult to easily replace 1000MW of electricity which is why the Akosomob Dam in Ghana still stands despite its imminent danger of collapse and its serving to confine a huge vat of malaria breeding stagnant Lake Volat water.

Personally, I think the long term solution will be 24/7 solar power which can only come from OTEC but there are major thermal and salinity pollution problems involving it that preclude it hardly ever being mentioned as an alternative.

Posted by GuestNeil Baker on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 8:18 am

Here is the reality of shutting down SONGS. When it's gone, it's gone and will never be replaced by anything. No solar panels, no windmills, no anything.

CA has not allowed any type of power generating plants to be built in the state in decades and has shutdown most everything else.

As mentioned above, to replace SONGS with solar would be over 2,000 acres under solar panels. What CA tree hugger will allow 2,000 acres to be covered in solar panels? How many windmills to replace SONGS? You really think any CA tree hugger will allow a few hundred windmills to be put up in that area? Your think you will let PSE&G build a gas plant there? Get real. Never going to happen.

CA is now at the mercy of every out of state generation utility and you'll pay throw the nose for it and whine and gripe how your being picked on. Welcome to the real world or supply and demand. Brown outs coming to a CA location near you.

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