San Onofre: Beachfront Leaky Nuclear Waste Facility Underway

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San Onofre Nuclear Plant, on the coast of California, is busy building a nuclear waste dump for 1,600 tons of spent fuel on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Most U.S. nuclear power facilities store highly radioactive waste in thin-walled canisters (mostly 1/2-inch thick) that both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) admit cannot be inspected (on the outside or inside), cannot be maintained, repaired, and can crack and leak in the short-term. Thicker-walled, safer, and more expensive canisters do exist, but unfortunately utilities and regulators have put profits before protection of public health.

spent nuclear fuel dangers, San Onofre Nuclear Plant

“Believe me folks, this baby will do the trick at half the price of that “imported” model behind me. Guaranteed not to leak for 30-years, and besides, who here’s even gonna be alive in 30 years?” Cartoon by Jerry Collamer.

The Big Deal Nuke Canister Sell-Job Open House

In the ongoing How-Where-What-to-Do
with defunct San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)
on-site nuclear waste, harboring 1000s-of-Years’ radioactive shelf life —
Can it, Move it, Put it Somewhere Safe, Away from Public Harm
the people vs. corporate bean-counting mumbo jumbo
i.e. the power-that-be (basically Edison) wants to cheap-out
on defunct-SONGS nuke rod storage ‘canisters’
with maybe a 25-to-30 year shelf life
before cracking from intense radioactive heat inside the cans,
with no guarantee of canister longevity,
and no-way of checking for cracks,
and no place to move the radioactive tonnage to,
defunct-SONGS, Edison, and NRC
continue down their insane road to unimaginable disaster,
if their cheap-can conversation becomes “our” reality.
Pray it doesn’t.
If there was ever a time for “Quality Assurances,”
ensuring a minimum 100-year safety window
for defunct-SONGS’ left-behind nuke-waste,
it’s now.
Right now.
Edison must not be allowed to cheap-out
on canning their eternally hot responsibility.
Edison created defunct-SONGS radioactive hot mess.
Now they must “can” it responsibly,
looking 1000-years-out, minimum.

No system is perfect, but the thick ones are designed to be maintainable. For example, they use redundant metal seals and lids that are designed to monitor for pressure changes. This gives them an early warning alert they may need to replace a seal. There are two seals for each bolted lid. Only one seal out of four is needed to prevent a radioactive leak.

The thin wall canisters have no redundant or early warning system. You will only know there are cracks after the cracks travel through the wall of the canister and leak radioactive gases into the environment.

The nuclear industry has no approved solution to deal with leaking canisters once spent fuel pools are destroyed.

— Donna Gilmore San Onofre Safety

STORY: Decommissioning San Onofre: Money Over Meltdown

From San Clemente Green: A court battle is set for April 14th at the Superior Court in San Diego to REVOKE THE PERMIT that the Coastal Commission approved, under outrageous pressure from industry, to allow Edison to bury nuclear waste 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean. If they get what they want, Californians might be stuck with the waste at San Onofre permanently.

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About Jerry Collamer

Jerry Collamer is a creative communications specialist. Backgrounds in National Advertising and Television Communication. Writer. Artist. Native Californian with a world-view career arch. Pragmatic and common sense urban activist -- co-founder of Wild Heritage Planners.