Facility & Company Information > Zion


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Roll Tide:
IF we get new plants built and operating IAW the 2010 goal, I will be very happy. Can you imagine the people that decided to shutdown Zion and Maine Yankee coming into the control room of one of the next generation plants? It sounds like a takeoff of Dilbert; specifically when former dot.com executives visit real jobsites! (No offense intended to our beloved Rennhack dot.com, of course!)

I am sure there were convincing reasons for both, but can you imagine a hall of fame for the early decomms? Of all the plants to close in the past ten years, I believe only Big Rock Point closure would be justified today, based on current economic data and that is only due to their small size.

A big part of upper management is making decisions and living with them. I am sure the DC Cook management sometimes wondered if they had taken a wrong turn before dual unit return to power. Now they are fairly vindicated, but even more so when new plants start construction!

The sad part about Maine Yankee is there was nothing wrong with that plant. It was a classic case of anti nukes taking advantage of a regulation, combinedd with a new management who would rather not prove what they already knew.

Zion was a junk plant. It never had a good operating record, and the events that led to SER 9-97 showed the management, combined with the Operating staff shouldn't have been anywhere near a nuke unit.


Roll Tide:
I knew guys from both Maine Yankee and Zion, and while your analysis is harsh for Zion it is understandable. Still, can you imagine shutting down a two-unit site with about 1,000 MWe per plant under today's environment? Significantly smaller plants have had license renewal! Call me a hopeless romantic if you must, but I have to believe all of the problems could have been taken care of.
Disclaimer: I wasn't at Zion site, and I am speaking mostly from my standpoint as a staunch pro-nuke. I know people that did work there, and also people who were offered jobs there and decided that they would rather sit home and wait for something else! Regardless of that, the site had a good location in relation to the grid and

Look at it this way. I'm not being harsh about the Management and staff. What they did in SER 9-97 was unforgivable and showed a shocking lack of even basic understanding of Nuclear Safety.

Here's an alternative to looking at Zion as being 2 1000 MWe units. The lifetime capacity factor of both units up till the time of the Zion Event was around 45% if that. So in effect it was ONE 900 MWe plant. Since it wasn't reliable, or run reliably even that 900 MWE wasn't available when it needed to be. In an era where capacity and availability factors were rising almost exponentially throughout the industry Zions was actually LOWERING. In fact her availibility factor was lower than her capacity factor.

Both units had S/Gs that were slowly turning into junk, and since it was Com Eds fault they were going to have to foot the whole bill. They'd have to replace 8 SG/s within 7 years (and that's a Rose Colored Glasses Number) for units that

1: They were having people problems with that weren't being solved.

2: Had never produced enough electricity to be profitable

3: Even when operating were always on the verge of a SCRAM or TS Shutdown.

4: Were going to cost Com Ed a LOT of money just to get back to a baseline condition.

5: Where the staff didn't understand basic nuclear safety.

I can see why they just pulled the plug.


What is the status of Rancho Seco in California?  Could it be brought back online if a miracle occurred and the voters (or Arnold) allowed it?  I never heard if the plant was decommissioned or just defueled and put on ice.


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