Overnight, we've seen a lot of breathless coverage about the steam generator leak that happened at San Onfre Generating Station on Tuesday, one that led to a story on the AP's national wire and another during the first segment of ABC's World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer on Wednesday evening.
What happened at San Onofre is a pretty typical operational event. If you don't believe us, feel free to ask David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Here's what he told one Southern California newspaper about the incident at San Onofre:
The "pinhole"-sized leak in a steam generator tube that caused a partial shutdown at the San Onofre nuclear plant Tuesday is something that is actually to be expected when a plant has new generators like San Onofre does, according to one expert.If you want to know why our nation is having trouble devising a sound energy policy, you should know that the sensational coverage we've seen about San Onofre over the past 48 hours is a part of the reason.
San Onofre recently replaced its old generators.
Whenever generators are new or very old, leaks can occur, and engineers know to be alert for the problem, said David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Lochbaum said that as long as sensors detected the problem and the operators were prepared, "it's not the fault of [owner] Southern California Edison. It just happens" with new generators as they are being broken in.