letterhead

 
Before I get started, I'd like to first remind you about the important Community Engagement Panel meeting in Oceanside Thursday evening, (more details below).

As you may already know by now, there was a settlement between Edison and Citizens Oversight regarding the California Coastal Commission permit allowing Edison to bury nuclear waste precariously at edge of our ocean, (see entire document  here). While the outcome has been touted in public by Edison and the plaintiffs as something to celebrate, the fact remains that the key objective to revoke the permit was lost. Their case has been officially dismissed, but we have more options to stop this. See below for more actions we can take. 

More nuclear waste will likely be buried at San Onofre before the end of the year. However, Edison's own projections say that the last canister won't be cool enough to be transported until at least 2035, well beyond the intended lifespan of these temporary containment structures. They admitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) it will be "unlikely" the DOE will take the fuel by that date.  There is no way to avoid this reality and it is questionable whether the canisters will meet transportation requirements and that anyone will be willing to accept this waste especially if they know how unsafe it is. Unfortunately, it only takes one bad canister to release the equivalent of the Chernobyl disaster which contaminated much of Europe in 1986. We have 51 aging, thin canisters, or "Chernobyl Cans", sitting out in the open, with 73 more to be partially buried in silos one hundred feet from the Pacific Ocean and barely above the water table. Not nearly enough is being done about this most eminent threat. If we don't get this right, nothing else may matter.

One condition that I was encouraged to see when I first read this agreement was that a panel of experts would be selected to address some of these very urgent issues. We have been promoting this step for a long time now, but I'm very disappointed Edison is in full control of selecting those experts. It was their experts that got us into the corner we are in today. Perhaps it is only wishful thinking that we might get some of the highly qualified professionals that we have been promoting. Even so, Edison will not be obliged to follow the panel's recommendations in this lopsided agreement. 


Gregory Jaczko, the former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is one of the key notable figures we'd like to have on the panel.  He served  during the Fukushima disaster only to be ousted for attempting to enforce lessons learned from that on-going nuclear tragedy.  In a recent op-ed he wrote titled "Deal Serves Utility's Interest, Not Public's" , he cast much doubt about the regulators and the nuclear industry. He also pointed out that "Edison was happy to agree to a settlement which committed it to do nothing different than what the utility intended all along: leave the fuel on the shores of the Pacific". He summarized that it was "ultimately more bark than bite". 

By signing this agreement, Edison publicly acknowledged in writing, that they have no idea if canisters are cracking, because they cannot inspect for cracks and cannot repair cracks. They will only know there are problems AFTER they leak. Edison does not know if the nuclear waste and the baskets critical to holding the nuclear waste fuel assemblies are in good enough shape to transport. 

Meanwhile, since the majority of activists are not bound by this settlement, we can still advocate for these safety issues ...

  • What you can do today: Tell the Coastal Commission and our elected officials to revoke the Coastal permit for the San Onofre waste storage dump.  Send an email to Joseph.Street@coastal.ca.gov Suggested talking points on this handout.
  • September 14th: Attend Edison's Community Engagement Panel Meeting. Tell Edison and the Community Engagement Panel you want THICK CASKS, NOT THIN CANS, and that you are not buying their empty promises of future solutions, (see more details below).
  • October 11thTell the Coastal Commission in person, to revoke the Coastal Permit for burying San Onofre nuclear waste at the beach. Otherwise, they may think the Settlement to withdraw the lawsuit means you support burying nuclear waste at the beach. New Commissioners that were not part of the original permit decision need to see and hear from you. Tell them that "Special Conditions" that were required for approval should have been met BEFORE granting this permit, not after 20 years. Edison provided insufficient evidence that they can meet the Special Conditions now or in the future. Meeting begins at 8:00 A.M. Chula Vista City Council Chambers, 276 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 
  • Nuclear fuel waste must be moved from the existing 51 thin cans to thick casks that meet all Coastal Commission special requirements and meet basic safety requirements we expect in a car: ability to inspect, maintain, repair and monitor to PREVENT major problems. And be TRANSPORTABLE. 

 

  • These ticking time bomb Chernobyl cans (up to 14 years old) may already be cracking and could start leaking in a few years. NRC documents show a comparable container cracked and leaked in only 17 years. Edison has no intention to address this issue, making any shipment unlikely. Instead, they plan to remove the spent fuel pools which is the only NRC approved plan at San Onofre to replace cracking canisters. 

 

 

DON'T FORGET!
Next Community Engagement Panel meeting is on 
"Defense in Depth"

Thursday, September 14, 5:30 PM 
Quantum Learning Center, 1938 Avenida Del Oro,
 Oceanside, CA 92056

Come hear (and question) why Edison believes there is so little risk in handling nuclear waste that NO emergency provisions for a radioactive accident or leak are necessary. At the last CEP meeting we were told that the possibility of a radioactive leak or explosion was so slight that it wasn't necessary to plan for such an accident. These are the same guys that had to shut down the plant permanently, due to computer modeling that was off by 400%, choosing to ignore their own engineer's warnings.  


A note of remembrance and resolve...

Monday, on the anniversary of 9/11, I was reminded of that overwhelming feeling of universal compassion felt between those of us who witnessed that horrific event. Our differences were forgotten and our common cause was unifying. There were similar feelings of unity as Hurricane Irma unleashed its power. Reports about the billions of dollars to be spent on the restoration of Florida seem to be taken in stride, yet much is made of the $4 million Edison has budgeted to study ways to prevent a far worse disaster. It is time to get real about the cost of handling nuclear waste as safely as possible. Rather than paying the trillions of dollars a nuclear accident would cost, we need to make people aware of the reasonable cost of preventive measures before it actually happens.  Unlike a hurricane, there will be no advance warning for a nuclear accident, and restoration is not possible in this kind of disaster. We must demand that prevention must be the guiding principle over this reckless industry, its negligent regulators and misinformed politicians. We need to be able to imagine the horror of watching such a disaster unfold before it actually happens. We must stand side by side for the good of all right now, the way we always do during times of crisis.  Otherwise, it may be too late.



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