Southern California environment news and trends

Song of the Week, for San Onofre, and the summer energy needs ahead: "Can't Smile Without You"

David McNew/Getty Images

Evening sets on the San Onofre atomic power plant December 6, 2004 in northern San Diego County, south of San Clemente, California.

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: 

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. 


Song of the Week: "You can't see it, and you can't smell it," for nuclear generating stations


Anti-nuclear power protests in Kouenji, Tokyo, Japan, April 2011.

If there's one rule about the Song of the Week, it's that it can't be a protest song. Protest music, generally, is where melody, good lyrics, and humor go to die. But rules are made to be broken.

It's a year after the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Power plant in Japan. I don't know that anyone is yet reporting on what that accident reveals about our sense of risk from that sort of harm. It does seem like we're still piecing together what happened; we're not yet thinking about what we might pay in the future if we're still trying to count the cost--and it seems we are. I recommend you find, read, and listen to everything at FUEL an energy journal, and the formidable Alex Chadwick's reporting on energy issues, including nuclear power, and including Fukushima.