While two whistleblower complaints at San Onofre nuclear plant made big news locally today, the plant has been dogged by numerous safety issues in the past, as our in-depth piece from former Los Angeles Times energy reporter Elizabeth Douglass found earlier this year.
From her story:
Mistakes and management problems continue to mount at the San Onofre nuclear plant, despite an unprecedented executive shake-up and a year-long effort to convince federal regulators and an industry ratings group that things are improving.
… Still, internal reports and Nuclear Regulatory Commission assessments indicate that the plant’s shortcomings include a degraded safety culture; falling behind on preventive maintenance; allowing equipment to become less reliable; not finding, analyzing and fixing problems adequately; not providing employees with sufficient training and written procedures to prevent mistakes; and lagging well behind its peers in worker safety.
Those problems have led to falsified fire watch records and caused such problems as a loose battery connection on a safety system to go undiscovered for years.
The news today only added to that. From the North County Times:
Two career San Onofre employees have charged that top managers at the nuclear power plant retaliated against them after they reported a willful violation of federal regulations by a plant welder who helped make steel containers that hold highly-radioactive spent uranium fuel.