California Public Policy and Citizen Participation/San Onofre

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Template:Infobox power station The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) is a nuclear power plant located on the Pacific coast of California. The 84-acre (34 ha) site is in the northwestern corner of San Diego County, south of San Clemente, and surrounded by the San Onofre State Park and next to the I-5 Highway.

Unit 1 is no longer in service and has been dismantled. It is being used as a storage site for spent fuel. It had a spherical containment of concrete and steel with the smallest wall being 6 feet (1.8 m) thick. This reactor was a first generation Westinghouse pressurized water reactor that operated for 25 years, closing permanently in 1992. Units 2 and 3, Combustion Engineering pressurized water reactors, continue to operate and generate 1,172 MWe and 1,178 MWe respectively.

The July 12, 1982 edition of Time (magazine) states, "The firm Bechtel was further embarrassed in 1977, when it installed a 420-ton nuclear-reactor vessel backwards" at San Onofre.[1]

The plant is operated by Southern California Edison. Edison International, parent of SCE, holds 78.2% ownership in the plant; San Diego Gas & Electric Company, 20%; and the City of Riverside Utilities Department, 1.8%. The plant employs over 2000 people.

The plant is located in Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region IV.

Surrounding population[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[2]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of San Onofre was 92,687, an increase of 50.0 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 8,460,508, an increase of 14.9 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include San Diego (45 miles to city center).[3]

Environmental mitigation[edit]

Strong, spherical containment buildings around the reactors are designed to prevent unexpected releases of radiation. The closest tectonic fault line is the Cristianitos fault, which is considered inactive. Southern California Edison states the station was "built to withstand a 7.0 magnitude earthquake directly under the plant".[4]

Unlike many pressurized water reactors, but like some other seaside facilities in Southern California, the San Onofre plant uses seawater for cooling, and thus lacks the iconic large cooling towers typically associated with nuclear generating stations. However, changes to water-use regulations may require construction of such cooling towers in the future to avoid further direct use of seawater. Limited available land next to the reactor would likely require the towers to be built on the opposite side of the Interstate 5 highway.[5]

Seismic risk[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at San Onofre was 1 in 58,824, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[6][7]

In popular culture[edit]

Template:Trivia In the James W. Huston book, Fallout, Pakistani Air Force Pilots attempt to bomb San Onofre using stolen California Air National Guard F-16s.

The generating station was also featured in the 1983 film Koyaanisqatsi.

In the James Bond book License Renewed by John Gardner, it was one of six nuclear power stations in the terrorist/blackmail plot "Meltdown" planned by The Laird of Murcaldy, Anton Murik.

The original San Onofre Unit-1 Power Plant was used as the "Gotham City" Atomic Reactor in the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West.

In the science fiction novel Timescape, by Gregory Benford, the nuclear plants at San Onofre raised the water temperature along the adjacent coast, which stimulated aquatic life.

The plant's two large containment structures are briefly shown in the 1988 movie The Naked Gun when detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) talks about how everything reminds him of his ex-girlfriend (quote: “Everywhere I look something reminds me of her”).

In the 2011 TV series The Event, the fuel rods were removed and transported from San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station to thwart the aliens' plan to steal the uranium to build their specialized transport array. The transport array was utilized to transport the citizens from their own planet to Earth.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Template:U.S. nuclear plants Template:U.S. anti-nuclear