Full story HERE

Full story HERE

Calls heat up for reviews of California nuclear plants

State and federal officials are pushing for
comprehensive checkups of the San Onofre and Diablo Canyon facilities,
which have been cited repeatedly in recent years for safety lapses.

 At San Onofre, the NRC cited operators for failed diesel generators in
2007 and again in 2009. In December 2008, inspectors found that a
battery used to power emergency systems at the plant had been
incorrectly connected and probably had been inoperable for four years.

The NRC noted in January 2008 that San Onofre employees had “willfully”
falsified fire safety records for five years. That string of citations
led the agency, a year ago, to issue a letter highlighting what it
called a “chilling effect” in the plant’s safety culture in which
employees “have the perception that they are not free to raise safety
concerns.”

On March 4, the NRC issued its annual review of San Onofre,
identifying improvements but noting that in the area of human
performance, “corrective actions to date have not resulted in sustained
and measurable improvement.”

Dale Bridenbaugh, a nuclear engineer who left his job at General
Electric
35 years ago, said that crises at nuclear facilities
generally come when small errors add up.

“It’s an attitude of not caring about details that in and of itself
won’t cause an accident, but in certain situations can cause a cascading
series of failures,” said Bridenbaugh, who worked as a nuclear
consultant until he retired in 1996. “Things seem fine and all of a
sudden you’re in deep yogurt.”