A little over a week ago, steam generator tubes failed during a test at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Since then Edison has been testing about 1% of its 19,000-plus tubes on site. And it would seem that could take a while, based on tweets from Edison's community outreach like this:
Won’t return to service until we’re satisfied it’s safe to do so. #safety— SCE_SONGS (@SCE_SONGS) March 15, 2012
This week, Southern California and the California Independent System Operator began to grapple with what a shutdown at San Onofre could mean to summer energy needs. The ISO, at a meeting this week, discussed contingencies for that circumstance. System operators could consider speeding up Sunrise Powerlink and the Barre Ellis transmission projects. They could keep a power plant on its way to extinction in Huntington Beach open a little longer. They could step up calls for public conservation, and public agencies and the military could impose mandatory restrictions.
And if this doesn't happen, brownouts and rolling blackouts could make a repeat appearance in the region. As KPBS' Alison St. John reports:
John Geesman, an attorney from the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, chided the board for not looking longer term at the consequences of losing the power generated at the nuclear power station. He said this summer may be a problem, but his concern is next summer and the summer after that if the power plant is not part of the energy mix.
So, in honor of San Onofre, the Song of the Week is by Barry Manilow. "Can't Smile Without You."
I'm no big fanilow of the Manilow, but this song's magic is undeniable. He's singing about someone without whom he could not imagine living. You know, like how Southern California feels about its air conditioners and the energy sources that supply the power to them. Like San Onofre. Or electricity at the switch.
You know I can't smile without you
I can't smile without you
I can't laugh and I can't sing
I'm finding it hard to do anything
You see I feel sad when you're sad
I feel glad when you're glad
If you only knew what I'm going through
I just can't smile without you
You came along just like a song
And brighten my day
Who would have believed that you where part of a dream
Now it all seems light years away