California Public Policy and Citizen Participation/San Onofre
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 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.
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.
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 msnbc.com. 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).
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".
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.
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.
In popular culture
The generating station was also featured in the 1983 film Koyaanisqatsi.
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.
- "The Master Builders from Bechtel". Time. July 12, 1982. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,925559,00.html.
- Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, msnbc.com, April 14, 2011 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42555888/ns/us_news-life/ Accessed May 1, 2011.
- "L.A. Now". Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/03/san-onofre-nuclear-plant-can-withstand-quakestsunamis-officials-say.html.
- "State to power plants: stop sucking in seawater". The Orange County Register. http://sciencedude.ocregister.com/2010/05/04/state-to-power-plants-stop-sucking-in-seawater/98761/.
- Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk," msnbc.com, March 17, 2011 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42103936/ Accessed April 19, 2011.
- "NRC: San Onofre - Unit 1". Nuclear Regulatory Commission. February 7, 2011. http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/decommissioning/power-reactor/san-onofre-unit-1.html. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- "San Onofre 2 Pressurized Water Reactor". Operating Nuclear Power Reactors. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). February 14, 2008. http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/sano2.html. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
- "San Onofre 3 Pressurized Water Reactor". Operating Nuclear Power Reactors. NRC. February 14, 2008. http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/sano3.html. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
- SCE SONGS webpage
- Edison SONGS webpage
- Why Domes at San Onofre from North County Times
- So. Calif. nuclear plant worker faked fire checks