Wednesday, April 25, 2012

San Onofre Steam Generators: My Post at Atomic Power Review

Introducing my post, San Onofre and Steam Generator Design at Atomic Power Review.


An excellent post by Dan Yurman, Debunking Some Nuclear Nonsense, introduced me to the controversies about the new steam generators at San Onofre.  The steam generators are newly installed, and having unexpected problems.  His post also introduced me to Arnie Gundersen's critiques of the San Onofre steam generators, how they were made, how they were designed, etc.  These critiques were  funded by Friends of the Earth.

I try to stick to energy issues in my own region, the Northeast, but this situation got under my skin.  You see, I actually know a great deal about steam generators and their issues.  I was a project manager in the Steam Generator Owner's Group at EPRI.  When I left EPRI to start my own company, I had contracts to help utilities with steam generator chemistry decisions. My contracts were in the U.S. and abroad. My expertise was in demand.

So, of course I fired off a geeky letter to the ANS mailing list about steam generators.  Will Davis of Atomic Power Review asked me to de-geek the letter a bit. He said he would put it on his blog, Atomic Power Review.

My post is up at Atomic Power review today.  I'm proud of it, and I very pleased that Will Davis encouraged me to write it.  It's getting a lot of hits...

Update: I was going to put in a series of links to other SG articles, but the NEI blog post today has done it for me.  A Reader's Guide to the San Onofre Steam Generator Situation.  Great guide to SG posts by Barq, Davis, Yurman, and people at Southern California Edison.  Thanks for the comprehensive guide to steam generator issues at SONGS.

Graphic of steam generator support plates courtesy of AREVA.


Will Davis said...

It sure IS getting a lot of hits already, and the day is young! It's dragging my previous S/G detail post along with it by virtue of the two links I inserted for background, which means that lots of people are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn the facts we're presenting. So glad you pursued this project!

Kit P said...

Very nice Meredith, reducing the frequency of steam generator tube ruptures (SGTR) puts you on my list of heroes.

One quibble! A primary to secondary leaks will release radioactivity to the environment. If fact, it is a SGTR that makes one of my systems safety related. The size of my pumps is based on cooling down at 90 degrees F/hour to minimize the amount of the release. This in turn keeps the dose to control room workers at an acceptable level.

People like Gundersen mislead the public into think that any release is a problem and that we have failed design for larger expected releases like a SGTR.

I tried to post this at APR but had a problem for some reason or other and gave up. The world will go on without my two cents worth.

Meredith Angwin said...

Kit, Thank you for the good words!

You are right and I am sort-of right (I think). A SGTR can release radioactivity into the containment area, and it can be hazardous to the people in the plant. Also, a small amount of radioactivity can also go out to the larger environment with the non-condensible off-gases when secondary water is contaminated with primary water.

But "releases to the environment' sounds like a SGTR releases primary water directly out to the environment. I was trying to say that this is not the consequence of a tube rupture.