By Eric Heinz

Ray Lutz, the executive director of Citizens’ Oversight Projects, Inc., a watchdog group actively checking the policies and procedures of decommissioning and storage of spent nuclear fuel at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), has a petition currently being considered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that would require more safety measures around the casks stored at the offline power plant.

The proposal is called HELMS, which stands for “hardened, extended-life, local, monitored and surface space storage,” and it asks the NRC to adopt policies that would further protect the storage of the spent nuclear fuel.

“Basically, it’s not asking them to swap them out of the casks,” Lutz said. “What we’re trying to get them to do is think about the long-term and plan ahead, and upgrade the canisters with an additional wall, which is pressurized with helium.”

Lutz said this would further enable the company that handles the spent nuclear fuel to check for any kind of problems.

The current canisters are provided by Holtec International and have been criticized by some as not having a guaranteed security expectancy past 40 years.

The public comment period for the petition ends on Tuesday, June 5 and will be followed by several public hearings before the NRC considers it. The proposal can be found at a link in this article at www.sanclementetimes.com.

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comments (11)

  • Are you concerned about the “thin” canisters being used nationwide, that have a stated design life of only 40 years (and warranty of only 25), while the NRC says any power plant can keep spent fuel in dry storage INDEFINITELY? It’s simple. 40 years does not equal indefinite. The HELMS petition before the NRC would require design changes with the goal of a design life of 1,000 years (with periodic maintenance) and a passive life (no maintenance) of at least 300 years. Also, it requires 7/24 monitoring for any leaks while accepting the fact that the spent fuel will likely need to continue to cool on the surface for perhaps the next 150 to 200 years. There are also specific changes to NRC regulations, Part 72 that talks about how these dry storage systems will be sited, how big the exclusion area is, whether the exclusion are is active (like it is at San Onofre, where a freeway, rail and beach all are within the exclusion zone) or passive (where there is just a barrier around it and nothing can go it on a routine basis. If you have said you are concerned about these things, then please COMMENT at the NRC website. I hope groups like Public Watchdogs, Surfrider, Sierra Club, San Onofre Safety, San Clemente Green etc. will take the time to make their comments now that our petition has been accepted by the NRC for processing. DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY!

    More information here: Helms Proposal

  • patricia borchmann Reply

    I’m impressed with the HELMS plan design developed by Ray Lutz, from Citizens Oversight. It’s super important, and people should invest time to read about the HELMS proposal… only takes 5 minutes on the link to become ‘informed’ with accurate facts, and submit comments online before June 5, 2018.
    We’ve all got skin in this game, and we all should care enough to make our online comments about HELMS proposal on NRC’s web page …. it’s super easy.
    Ray Lutz describes complicated things like this in a way that makes it understandable even to non-engineers like me. He’s asking for comments from everyone …. critics or advocates.
    So … please don’t be bystanders, expecting ‘someone else will do it’. We all need to respond, Reminder – democcracy is not a spectator sport. Own it.
    Thanks all.

  • SCE spent fuel canisters’ service life is 100 years. Design life is 60 years and because the new Holtec canisters have been laser peened, will likely NEVER undergo the CISCC corrosion mechanism.

    Ray, that was the conclusion of the independent engineering firm MPR & Associates. Independent engineer and chairman of the CEP, David Victor, seems to concur.

    AT the very first CEP, if I remember correctly, you said you feared that with 4.4 Billion dollars on the line, we have to watch that it isn’t misspent, or words to that effect. So I must ask you, who is going to build a canister with a design life of 1000 years? More importantly, who is going to pay for this since you originally seemed more concerned with the costs? If your proposal is accepted and the $4.4 B evaporates in the process of caring it out, are YOU prepared to fundraise to cover the additional costs?

    You are aware, are you not, that the NRC has already approved the current systems and that almost 20% of the fuel has already been transferred to dry cask storage (not even counting the originally loaded 50 canisters)?

    Your efforts can only lead to more costs and delays, is that your real intent? Have not the anti-nukes done enough harm to the city and state? At long last, just declare victory in putting 1100+ people out of a job, raising the price of electricity in the area, making the grid a little less stable, and go home.

    • David Davison, apparently, you haven’t read the proposal. The only change needed at this stage is to design the vaults in the HOLTEC UMAX facility large enough to accommodate a second outer shell. The $4.4 Billion is not largely for the spent fuel handling. I talked to Holtec, and they said it would be no problem, in fact they did not care what the specs are, they will design to meet them.

      The canister that can last 1,000 years requires the use of a sacrificial outer shell. I’m willing to look at other designs. I think with that outer shell in place, and with the laser peening you mention, it may last the 300 years we propose for the PASSIVE life.

      Unfortunately, we are stuck with all these costs. The proposed outer shell and leaving them on the surface for now is far less costly than the failed YM proposal, which will likely never happen.

      Also realize that since we are providing an UPGRADE path so there is no loss if they use the current canisters.. The changes to Part 72 that are proposed will apply to any subsequent facility, not the temporary one at SONGS, So yes, I am fully aware of all that.

      No, this proposal does not lead to any delay. The only change needed at this stage is a slight increase in the diameter of the vaults at any CIS facility.

      Your accusations that anti-nuke people have done harm is absurd. On the contrary, we are trying to clean up the effing mess of the pro-nuke group that has defaulted on any real plans for dealing with the waste. And all those jobs “lost” were more than covered by the jobs gained in the renewable sector, which hires far more workers than the nuke plants do, and BTW, they are all hopelessly uneconomic, and I predict will be systematically shut down at this juncture.

  • SCE spent fuel canister service life is 100 years. Design life, ie., under the worst environmental conditions, is 60 years. The fuel is a solid and thus there is NO leakage into groundwater.

    Ray, I appreciate your honesty, something that has been totally absent in the local anti-nuke community. Having now read your proposal, I was satisfied to find you put the nail in the coffin, or thick cask, in this case, demonstrating once again why the European casks are not suitable for the current application given the circumstances. Hopefully, we’ve heard the last from that bad idea.

    Your statement, “I talked to Holtec, and they said it would be no problem…”

    I think you should clarify what you mean, ie., no problem in designing for this at a future installation, or no problem back fitting your design into the current installation, ie., at SONGS? If the latter then I am highly skeptical that this is what Holtec told you or what they meant.

    Before elaborating further on the many complications of back-fitting your system to SONGS, I’ll let you clarify what you mean.

    The proposal acknowledges the drawbacks of simply making a canister thicker (because of heat transfer capabilities and its relation to keeping the fuel cool) and also acknowledges that this is the case for your proposed system as well (to a lesser extent because your system is thinner). However, I didn’t see any appreciation for the difficulty in keeping the fuel cool given that not only do you have another, and thicker, outer canister, but you have an air gap (Helium) between the two canisters. This would significantly reduce the heat transfer capability and cause fuel temperatures to increase (to what value would depend on the size of the air gap). How, in your design, do you propose to keep the fuel cool?

    Your statement, “…we are trying to clean up the effing mess of the pro-nuke group that has defaulted on any real plans for dealing with the waste.”

    The only default here is by the government who promised the nuclear industry one thing, charged them a lot of money to do it, and then failed to follow through. It was the anti-nukes who advocated against YM BEFORE even the first trowel of earth was turned for its construction.

    In addition, the whole problem was created when Jimmy Carter outlawed reprocessing of used nuclear fuel. Considering these facts, how has “pro-nuke group” defaulted on this issue?

    Furthermore, when anti-nukes find it necessary to outright lie, make false statements, and engage in hyperbole, all to push their agenda, then the honest citizen can rightly wonder why the views of these purveyors of falsehood should be considered at all.

    Your statement, “…were more than covered by the jobs gained in the renewable sector…”

    So the employment of those who actually lost their jobs as a result of anti-nuke agitation (and Barbara Boxer back-stabbing them) mean little to you because a lot more low wage jobs were created for others…jobs made possible only through massive subsidies? Is that right?

    Was it necessary for the plant to close in order for the solar industry to be jump-started?

    Your statement, “BTW, they are all hopelessly uneconomic…”

    Really? So why were electricity rates immediately raised following the announcement of the permanent shutdown of SONGS? And if the nuclear plants are uneconomical, is it any wonder considering your proposal here and the many other questionable costs the industry is burdened with?

    How economical would wind and solar be without the massive subsidies they enjoy? I was paid around $4500 to put solar on my roof; imagine the cost to the state and nation if everybody did this. And these sources do not provide VAR support for the electric grid which is why SCE is building a huge synchronous condenser in the SONGS switchyard at a cost of tens of millions of dollars which ratepayers will pick up.

    Think solar and wind is clean, think again:

    • Dave, I am happy to see that you finally read the proposal and have come around to some degree. I’m going to respond in-line below to put my responses in context.

      DAVE >>
      SCE spent fuel canister service life is 100 years. Design life, ie., under the worst environmental conditions, is 60 years. The fuel is a solid and thus there is NO leakage into groundwater.

      RCL >> the design life is defined by the certificate of compliance and is 40 years for each license extension. The NRC demands no additional life spec. I think you will agree that if you are going to license something (and allow renewals) for 40 years, the DESIGN life needs to be some multiple of the license period. They don’t do that now. Not even one more day.

      DAVE >> Ray, I appreciate your honesty, something that has been totally absent in the local anti-nuke community. Having now read your proposal, I was satisfied to find you put the nail in the coffin, or thick cask, in this case, demonstrating once again why the European casks are not suitable for the current application given the circumstances. Hopefully, we’ve heard the last from that bad idea.

      RCL>> Yes, I have not been pushing for using the “thick casks” which are not available in the US and have their own set of different problems. I see no hope of getting the industry to scrap what they have, take the assemblies out, and then buy the thicker casks. Ain’t gonna happen.

      DAVE>> Your statement, “I talked to Holtec, and they said it would be no problem…”

      RCL >> The HELMS proposal largely applies to the NEXT location of the fuel at SONGS. But if it does not get moved, then there may be a way to retrofit. It needs to be analyzed. Holtec said they did not mind a second shell as they would simply design for it. The installation at Humboldt Bay has two layers, using the transportation overpack over a similar canister as used at SONGS, and it has Helium gap. The only big thing missing is the monitoring attribute, but that could be easily retrofitted. The canisters at Chernobyl have two layers (albeit no gas gap).

      DAVE>> I think you should clarify what you mean, ie., no problem in designing for this at a future installation, or no problem back fitting your design into the current installation, ie., at SONGS? If the latter then I am highly skeptical that this is what Holtec told you or what they meant.

      RCL>> The HELMS proposal is for national application and is not specific to SONGS. But if SONGS spent fuel is not moved to a HELMS compliant facility and becomes marooned at this stupid location, then we will need to investigate how we might retrofit as it is sort of difficult to enlarge the vaults once it is constructed. I am honestly hopeful that we can move it from this location.

      DAVE>> The proposal acknowledges the drawbacks of simply making a canister thicker (because of heat transfer capabilities and its relation to keeping the fuel cool) and also acknowledges that this is the case for your proposed system as well (to a lesser extent because your system is thinner). However, I didn’t see any appreciation for the difficulty in keeping the fuel cool given that not only do you have another, and thicker, outer canister, but you have an air gap (Helium) between the two canisters. This would significantly reduce the heat transfer capability and cause fuel temperatures to increase (to what value would depend on the size of the air gap). How, in your design, do you propose to keep the fuel cool?

      RAY: In my view, the outer shell would not be used until after the spent fuel has cooled for at least another 10 to 20 years (for fuel at SONGS) and if you read the white paper carefully, you will see that it is based on the fact that once the surface of the canisters drops below 85C then there is some risk that CISSC will ensue. Shortly after that point, the canister should be upgraded to include the outer shell. Yes, there is increased thermal transfer resistance but by then it won’t hurt as the fuel is down to below about 85C (165F).

      DAVE>> Your statement, “…we are trying to clean up the effing mess of the pro-nuke group that has defaulted on any real plans for dealing with the waste.”

      The only default here is by the government who promised the nuclear industry one thing, charged them a lot of money to do it, and then failed to follow through. It was the anti-nukes who advocated against YM BEFORE even the first trowel of earth was turned for its construction.

      RAY>> I disagree with that (very popular) point of view because the technical reality is that YM would not have been usable with the ridiculous plan they had initially proposed, which was incompatible with the existing canisters and (written in the plan) the facility would require active ventilation for 150 years. Absurd, because it leaves it on the surface, and so why put it under ground so soon? Plus the facility has many technical show stoppers, such as many faults, water inundation, wrong kind of rock, really not that deep (1000 ft elevation) and difficult to maintain. How can you deal with a facility that quickly exceeds the design temp limit of 100C? How do we actually put the fuel in there, and get it out if needed? All a mess. And the nuclear industry, I still assert, as been imprudent by blaming their failure on the govt. They wanted a CHEAP disposal option so it would be FREE to the industry. That is a very bad policy.

      DAVE>> In addition, the whole problem was created when Jimmy Carter outlawed reprocessing of used nuclear fuel. Considering these facts, how has “pro-nuke group” defaulted on this issue?

      RAY>> Reprocessing has never been a big win and it creates only more fuel IF you have a bunch of plutonium burning reactors that can use it. At Hanford, they finally vitrified 2 gallons of nuke waste. No one is reprocessing and even if we had it, there is no reason to do it if you have no market for the reprocessed fuel. The nuke industry is basically dead now that PV solar is getting so cheap.

      DAVE>> Furthermore, when anti-nukes find it necessary to outright lie, make false statements, and engage in hyperbole, all to push their agenda, then the honest citizen can rightly wonder why the views of these purveyors of falsehood should be considered at all.

      RCL>> I can’t speak for “anti-nukes” makeing lies. Please stick to the topic.

      DAVE>> Your statement, “…were more than covered by the jobs gained in the renewable sector…”

      So the employment of those who actually lost their jobs as a result of anti-nuke agitation (and Barbara Boxer back-stabbing them) mean little to you because a lot more low wage jobs were created for others…jobs made possible only through massive subsidies? Is that right?

      RAY>> Basically, yes. The number of jobs created by the renewable sector are about 5x as numerous and many are very high paying, but perhaps not as well paid as if you work for the rip-off utilities that are reaming us harder than any other area, with rates at least 2x even the municipal utilities in the state.

      DAVE>> Was it necessary for the plant to close in order for the solar industry to be jump-started?

      RAY>> The two things are not directly related, because the plant failed due to ENGINEERING ERROR and not due to natural events like earthquakes, tsumani, or even terrorist activities. And the workers made no mistakes in the shutdown of the plant which was fortunately done safely. I have been all through the detailed documents of the failure and I don;t believe there was anything fraudulent, just that steam generators are very tricky, these are the largest in the world, and many changes were made at one time. The lesson to be learned is that humans DO make mistakes, and since nuclear plants require engineering perfection or have extremely catastrophic results, it is PRUDENT to shut down all remaining plants on a systematic basis.

      DAVE>> Your statement, “BTW, they are all hopelessly uneconomic…”

      Really? So why were electricity rates immediately raised following the announcement of the permanent shutdown of SONGS? And if the nuclear plants are uneconomical, is it any wonder considering your proposal here and the many other questionable costs the industry is burdened with?

      RAY>> The utility could have allowed MHI to apply repairs to the steam generators, but how well would repaired steam generators go over with the public. Nuclear power has increased in cost while solar PV has dropped. It is simply because solar PV is well suited to free market optimization (lots of small units made by many competitors) as opposed to nuclear (few very large units that are usually 20% over budget and last a very long time with very few competitors). See the plot in the whitepaper regarding cost of energy sources.

      DAVE>> How economical would wind and solar be without the massive subsidies they enjoy? I was paid around $4500 to put solar on my roof; imagine the cost to the state and nation if everybody did this. And these sources do not provide VAR support for the electric grid which is why SCE is building a huge synchronous condenser in the SONGS switchyard at a cost of tens of millions of dollars which ratepayers will pick up.

      RAY>> Without govt incentives, no nuclear plant would have ever been built. The Price Anderson Act limits utilities liability and without that, no insurer would touch it. Far too dangerous. The nuke industry has received FAR MORE ECONOMIC COVER by the govt and we will be saddled by the waste FOREVER. Please stop with this ridiculous notion that solar is any where as costly. Absurd!

      DAVE>> Think solar and wind is clean, think again:

      RAY>> Nothing is absolutely clean, that is true. But what is the worst that could happen at a PV solar plant? Maybe the panels fall over and break. Maybe a fire in the inverters. Maybe the whole thing melts into a ball. But the ball is not radioactive. It can ALL be recycled. In contrast, any nuclear plant could result in making thousands of sq miles into no-mans land. And you can’t reuse any of the material once it is radioactive. Steel in SONGS can;t be used for anything else and is dangerous to be next to. The two things are so massively different, I can’t imagine you would argue that solar is more dangerous that nuclear. Please take off your pro-nuclear rose colored glasses and honestly address the issues. I suggest you post your comments to the NRC docket by tomorrow 6/5 as that is the deadline. Here is the link: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NRC-2018-0017

      • Once upon a time, fuel from former Soviet nuclear weapons produced 10% of all power in America.
        Spent Fuel is a solid and therefore can’t leak into groundwater and canister design life, ie., under the worst conditions, is 60 years.
         
        @ Ray Lutz
         
        Ray, right out of the Final Safety Analysis Report on the Holtec canisters is the statement that the design life is 60 years.  It also says the service life is 100 years.  Considering that the canisters have been peened and are therefore less susceptible (if at all) to CISCC, they should last the full 300 years Holtec claims they are good for (going off of memory for the latter figure).  You may have confused Licensed Life, which is actually 20 years (which is renewable), with the actual design life which is 60 years.
         
        Again, I appreciate the fact that you are NOT pushing the “thick” castor cask design.  They are wholly inappropriate for the application under discussion and just a bad idea unworthy of consideration.
         
        I am satisfied that you are not advocating the backfit of HELMS at SONGS because as you’ve noted yourself, there are enormous engineering difficulties in doing so.  I must add, however, that the HELMS proposal will NOT be accepted by the nuclear industry as it simply adds further, unnecessary costs to an already overly burdensome regulatory environment.
        Where I think all are in agreement (except some anti-nukes who only wish to throw a wrench in the works), is for the swift removal of this fuel from SONGS; this is where all efforts should be directed…it is only a political decision away.

        I think complaints about Yucca Mt. are unhelpful unless comparing it to another site under consideration.  There are faults all over the place and their presence appears to be just an excuse not to make use of the site billions of $$ have been poured into, a site anti-nukes advocated against BEFORE any studies were complete or construction began. 
         
        I am highly skeptical of claims that YM was incompatible with existing canisters.  Which canister model is YM compatible with since the current canisters are of the same design as existed when YM was constructed?
         
        “ Absurd, because it leaves it on the surface, and so why put it underground so soon?”  It is unclear what you mean by your above statement and question. 
         
        Water inundation?  It is located in a desert inside a cavern and DSC facilities around the country are usually placed outside…exposed directly to the elements. 
        Wrong kind of rock?  If that is true, why would they choose the location in the first place and what is the RIGHT kind of rock?  When I toured the facility in the late 90’s, the geologist giving the tour said that representatives from foreign nuclear companies marveled at the geology wishing they had a similar location.  They did not envy our politics regarding spent fuel. 

        If and when choosing a different site, couldn’t some or all of these objections be raised by intervenors whose only interest is in causing trouble?   
        The extent of my concern in this regard is that I’d rather not have to pay twice for a storage facility; I would think that someone who operates an interest group called “Citizens Oversight” would feel the same.  To clarify, I’m not against other proposed sites but when one already exists, why go elsewhere considering that the very same arguments against YM could or may be raised against any new proposed site thus further delaying transfer?
         
        Your statement, “They wanted a CHEAP disposal option so it would be FREE to the industry.”  Really?  So billions of dollars are a “CHEAP disposal option or an amount you wish to pass off as “free”?”  The industry was forced to pay into (costs passed on to consumers) a fund the government was supposed to use to build a storage facility, where is your evidence or input from the industry to provide this facility on the cheap?  Yours are the standard anti-nuclear charges, charges made without evidence or support and constitute nothing more than an emotional outburst (no offense intended).
         
        Your statement, “Reprocessing has never been a big win and it creates only more fuel IF you have a bunch of plutonium burning reactors that can use it.” 

        Reactor plants CAN “burn” plutonium including San Onofre before it was prematurely axed.  SONGS produced plutonium during its operations and this plutonium provided an increasing percentage of the power as the core aged (for each fuel loading).  A number of countries still reprocess just as the US used to reprocess fuel.  The UK, Russia, France, and Japan reprocess spent nuclear fuel and certainly wouldn’t if what you said was true.  As I mentioned in my previous post, Jimmy Carter outlawed reprocessing in this country because of fears of the proliferation of nuclear material.
         
        http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/fuel-recycling/processing-of-used-nuclear-fuel.aspx
         
        So your following statement is false, “No one is reprocessing and even if we had it, there is no reason to do it if you have no market for the reprocessed fuel.”

        In addition, at one time 10% of all power produced in America was produced in nuclear power plants using fuel reprocessed from former Soviet nuclear weapons.
         
        Your claim, “The nuke industry is basically dead now that PV solar is getting so cheap.”  

        Nuclear power plants are being built in a number of countries including our own and PV solar is only cheap because the government pays 30% of the cost.  Have you seen any solar panels on roofs in poor neighborhoods?  This solar tax credit is like a regressive tax where only the rich enjoy the benefits yet all must pay (through their taxes).
         
        Your complaint, “Please stick to the topic.” 

        Because of the damage anti-nukes have caused and the falsehoods and lies they have told to promote their agenda, their malfeasance IS the topic.  This is not just a conversation between you and me, the general public needs to be aware that the narrative anti-nukes push is based upon deception and lies and that any consideration of future policy should bear this in mind.

        As this is long, I’ll continue with a separate post and address your other statements. 

  • Your claim, “…since nuclear plants require engineering perfection or have extremely catastrophic results, it is PRUDENT to shut down all remaining plants on a systematic basis.”

    Since nuclear plants are not experiencing “catastrophic results” unless you simply mean financial from equipment failures (something ALL capital intensive endeavors experience), then these plants must have already achieved “engineering perfection”. And if they have, why do plants find it necessary or advantageous to continually upgrade their systems and components? The answer is that NPs have NOT reached “engineering perfection” nor has any other engineering effort and that it should be obvious “perfection” is NOT necessary to ensure public safety. Shutting down “all remaining plants” is a foolish idea that will endanger electric grid stability and cost the ratepayers and/or taxpayers a boatload of money for replacement power.

    Your statement, “…the rip-off utilities that are reaming us harder than any other area, with rates at least 2x even the municipal utilities in the state.”

    So what is YOUR role in these costs? We’ve already seen that you wish to shut down power that is available now from nuclear power plants and that this power would have to be replaced which would be another financial burden the ratepayers would have to carry.
    Also, when SONGS was shut down, a decision you appear to have supported, electric rates immediately rose. Several synchronous condensers are being built in Orange County (one at SONGS) precisely because SONGS was closed. These capital-intensive (very expensive) devices were unnecessary when SONGS was online providing, not just power, but also VAR support, something solar panels don’t do and an issue you chose not to address. These costs are passed on to the consumer.

    Then there is YOUR lawsuit against SCE and the Coastal Commission in which you got very little but where your attorneys got rich…at ratepayer expense. Now there is YOUR HELMS proposal which would again, further burden the ratepayers. Want to know why electricity is so expensive here? Look in the mirror.

    Then there is grid reliability, an issue San Clemente became familiar with when the city lost power one Sunday because there wasn’t enough generation…because SONGS was no longer producing electricity thanks to the anti-nukes and Barbara Boxer who carried their water. 



    How about the building of the Ivanpah Solar facility which cost, as I recall, some 2 Billion $$ and produces a measly 375 MW of part-time power and still burns a lot of natural gas (SONGS didn’t produce any GHGs except when it ran its diesel generators for testing)? How many acres of land does it occupy particularly in comparison to the 89 acres of land SONGS sits on (going from memory) and how many birds does it kill each year? Did you support that expensive give-a-way to the faux environmentalists?

    I will address your other statements in a future post.

    • You need to educate yourself about some of these issues. Just because you can find a web page about reprocessing does NOT mean it is being used. See this reference: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/oregonpsrorg/pages/45/attachments/original/1508967118/Robert_Alvarez_CGS_SNF_Update___Cost_Study_-_10-24-17.pdf?1508967118

      I am proud of the work we have done to make sure they did not restart the failed design of the SONGS plant and to get ratepayers a fair shake in the aftermath. All we are trying to do now is to make sure the NRC can harmonize two very different statements. On one hand, they say the spent fuel may have to stay at plants INDEFINITELY, and then we have the design life of 40 years which is what Part 72 requires, and no more). If they have a longer design life, it is only a matter of luck because there are no requirements for anything longer than the license term. Not even one day. If you think otherwise, then you should quote part 72 and I will give you one attaboy.

      Even if we are lucky and everything HOLTEC claims is all true, even 300 years is not indefinitely, and that is ONLY if we also have INSPECTION technology, which we don’t. In fact, not even one canister has ever been removed let alone opened for inspection.

      The STADS canisters planned for YM are smaller in dimension according to the design specs I have reviewed. They use 3″ thick Alloy 22, which is not what the canisters are at the plants. They are only at most 5/8″. The NRC has had to admit that they did not realize that the canisters would crack due to CISSC, and now they are trying to paper over the problem with more “aging management” which means you know it will fail and you try to replace it before it does. The trouble is this is AGAIN the “We’ll figure it out later” approach.

      Sadly, you are one of the pro-nuke crowd with rose colored glasses on, as you want nuclear to be good. It may have been a good idea at first. I don’t fault those who originally hoped it would pan out. But now we know better. It is a huge unintentional blunder and we MUST turn around.

      • Robert Alvarez is an anti-nuke crack-pot whose opinions are unworthy of consideration.

        https://atomicinsights.com/why-does-anyone-trust-robert-alvarezs-opinions-about-nuclear-energy/?highlight=robert%20alvarez

        From the above article regarding Alvarez: “He has no nuclear training and has an official record of deception and lawlessness that should disqualify him from any public commentary in a what should be a respected and moderated source of energy information.”

        https://atomicinsights.com/credibility-is-important-especially-for-senior-scholars-who-expect-other-people-to-trust-their-work/?highlight=robert%20alvarez

        From the above article:

        “If you visit NucNews US 9/05/99 and search for Alvarez, you will find the initial article about his arrest and the reasons why his employer lost faith in his judgement, ability to tell the truth and ability to adhere the laws he was sworn to obey as an employee of the US Government.”

        https://atomicinsights.com/adam-curry-exposes-robert-alvarezs-fukushima-spent-fuel-pool-fable-on-no-agenda/?highlight=robert%20alvarez

        Continuing on with our discussion,

        Ray, where in Alvarez’s report does he even address reprocessing? I provided an article from the World Nuclear Association that states reprocessing is done in the four countries I listed and you claim I need to get educated and you post, in an effort I can only assume is meant to refute my statements and the article I provided, an article that doesn’t even address reprocessing. Were you hoping I wouldn’t read the article and just assume it had merit?

        Here, from wiki:

        “Nuclear fuel reprocessing is performed routinely in Europe, Russia and Japan.”

        Here is an article that discusses spent fuel reprocessing in France:

        http://fissilematerials.org/library/rr04.pdf

        As for SONGS, Unit 2 was ready to be restarted, the NRC had concurred with the plan and we were ready to go. That is when the anti-nukes, unable to prevent startup on the merits of their criticism and with help from Barbara Boxer, got the ASLB to overrule the NRC farcically claiming that limiting power to 70% required a license amendment, a process that takes about a year. At that point, SCE through in the towel because when a business is prevented from supplying its product, it eventually must cease operations.

        Your statement, “I am proud of the work we have done…to get ratepayers a fair shake in the aftermath.”

        Really? Ratepayers are paying more, not less so your efforts have hurt them, not helped them, where is the fair shake? In addition, San Clemente lost power precisely because SONGS was no longer providing electricity.

        Your statement, “…there are no requirements for anything longer than the license term.”

        So? The relevant fact is that the design life IS greater and that is what is important, not that the initial license (which can be extended) is less. This also undermines your narrative that the industry is doing things on the cheap for if the design life is greater than necessary, and the service life far greater still, and considering SCE took the added precaution to peen the canisters extending the life even further, then your previous statement is false.

        Your statement, “…that is ONLY if we also have INSPECTION technology, which we don’t.”

        This is a false statement. The inspection technology was demonstrated at a recent CEP meeting, perhaps you missed it. You are also in error if you think a canister must be opened to inspect it.

        As for Yucca Mountain canisters, here, as of the end of 2016:

        “Today the Yucca Mountain site has been abandoned and nothing exists but a boarded up exploratory tunnel. There are no waste disposal tunnels, receiving and handling facilities, and the waste containers and transportation casks have yet to be developed.”

        The above from, https://www.yuccamountain.org/time.htm

        So regardless of previous plans, if they hadn’t even developed the canisters, it certainly wasn’t a done deal. I’m not personally wedded to the idea of YM, I just want to proceed with whatever plan makes the most sense and if an interim site is more economical, I’m ok with that too. The best solution is to reprocess but there is little chance of that happening.

        Your statement, “We’ll figure it out later” approach.”

        Well yes, when you have a plan that works, ie., reprocessing, and the Carter administration outlaws it, then it is up to the government to decide what, where, and how to deal with it. Meanwhile, nuclear plants are still producing used nuclear fuel. The government created the problem so if you wish to complain, complain about government interference, not some made up malfeasance on the part of the commercial nuclear industry.

        Your statement, “Sadly, you are one of the pro-nuke crowd with rose colored glasses on…”

        I am pragmatic and will champion whatever power source(s) are the most reliable, safest, cheapest, and most environmentally friendly. There isn’t a power source that I am against though coal is the least attractive. It is YOU who appears to have an ax to grind against nuclear and seem willing to excuse any problems with solar energy. Hence, you completely ignored my news post of the Chinese solar panel manufacturing plant that so polluted the local river through just normal operations, ie., not an accident, it was shut down. When a country notorious for pollution, determines a particular plant pollutes too much, you can be assured there was a serious problem. The same goes for plants that produce the magnets for wind turbine blades and I have previously posted pictures of the environmental devastation from these kinds of plants as well.

        https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/03/are-your-solar-panels-toxic/

        http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/03/the-ugly-side-o.html

        The above, the ugly side of solar. “Solar panels don’t come falling out of the sky – they have to be manufactured. Similar to computer chips, this is a dirty and energy-intensive process.”

        So when I stated that solar is not clean, instead of addressing the point I made, you attacked a straw man of your own device, ie., that nuclear power is more dangerous and you went on to cite “special-pleading” examples such as personnel falling off a roof and compared to some theoretical nuclear holocaust.

        In fact, I didn’t speak to the safety issue but as long as we’re on it, compare the number of fatalities in the entire history of commercial NP, about 50, all at Chernobyl, to that of another renewable source, hydro. In just one dam failure, the Banquiao Dam in China, between 171,00 and 230,000 people died, 11 million were left homeless, and 6 million buildings were destroyed. There are many such dam failures yet we still build dams don’t we? Would your organization advocate against dam building as you have against NP?

        So, assuming solar PV is the panacea you seem to assume it is, what do we do with all those solar panels when they lose their efficiency or are replaced by better products or power? How many solar panels would be required to produce the amount of MWHrs of electricity SONGS produced since it came online in 1968? Do you even entertain such questions?

        Your statement, “But now we know better.”

        Apparently, you do not because NP is still providing almost 20% of America’s power and never has a single civilian died as a result of some accident at a commercial nuclear power plant. Per MWHr of electricity produced, NP has the least effect on the environment.

        It is people like yourself that drive up the costs of nuclear power in your efforts to shut them down (no offense intended). This is why it is so ironic that you then claim to be an advocate for the public who are the ones who have to bear these increased costs.

      • 10% of our nation’s power once came from Soviet nuclear weapons reprocessed and used in American nuclear power plants.

        Nuclear Power Plants carry their own insurance that covers them up to about $300 million. They also pay into a fund, currently about $12 Billion, that takes over when a particular plant has had an accident that exceeds the $300 million. Only after this does the government step in, just like it does with a number of other industries.

        “Over the first 43 years of the Price-Anderson Act to 2000, the secondary insurance was not required. A total of $151 million was paid to cover claims (including legal expenses), all from primary insurance, including $71 million for Three Mile Island. Additionally, the Department of Energy paid about $65 million to cover claims under liability for its own nuclear operations in the same period.[10]”

        “It should be noted that the federal government provides similar insurance mechanisms for other types of disasters, such as floods; agricultural disasters; banks and savings and loan company failures; home mortgages; and maritime accidents. Liability limits also exist for oil spills; bankruptcy; worker’s compensation; and medical malpractice.
        The costs of this insurance are borne by the industry, unlike the corresponding costs of some other power sources. Costs from hydropower mishaps, such as dam failure and resultant flooding, for example, are borne directly by the public. The 1977 failure of the Teton Dam in Idaho caused $500 million in property damage, but the only compensation provided to those affected was about $200 million in low-cost government loans.
        The Price-Anderson Act is a consumer- and public-oriented legislation. It provides a substantial amount of insurance protection paid by the commercial sector at no cost to the public or the government.”

        So citing the Price-Anderson Act as a payoff to NP is grossly misleading. The government has never had to pay a dime in claims. Contrast that with the $500 million Obama blew on Solyndra or the 30% tax credit the government lavishes on rich people to put solar panels on their roofs. How do you like the forests of windmills that cover the desert and mountain tops, many of which lie idle much of the time? How much does it cost to run power lines from each of these part-time power producers? How many birds do they kill and why aren’t these wind turbine companies more forthcoming on these figures?

        https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/wind-energy-firm-sues-block-bird-death-data-release

        http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/commentary-why-germany-is-waging-its-green-revolution-wrong-a-929693.html

        From the above, “All of the wind turbines, rooftop solar panels, hydroelectric and biogas plants in Germany have not reduced CO2 emissions in Europe by a single gram.”

        http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/high-costs-and-errors-of-german-transition-to-renewable-energy-a-920288.html

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