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This just in… PUC Chairman Michael Peevey, a former Edison president is dragging his feet on what to do about the crippled San Onofore Nuclear plant. Why is this such a big deal, you ask? Because this is a time sensitive issue. There is money involved (isn’t that always the case?) but this time its taxpayer money – to the tune of $60 million a month. If the clock runs out, an additional unrecoverable $240 million could flow to utility shareholders if the PUC waits the maximum period before acting. And we are stuck with the bill.
You can do something about permanently closing San Onofore and you don’t have to leave your comfy chair to do it. Sign this petition.
Maybe a little incentive will be all the recent earthquakes in California? Do you really want to take a chance on a Fukushima event right here in beautiful Southern California!
And I almost forgot, I spoke with Sgt. Dunn with the Anaheim Police Department and he told me that in case of a disaster, you will be contacted
via email by Anaheim Alert http://anaheimalert.net/index.php?CCheck=1
but you have to sign up. Gee, I feel safer now.
Do you know 8.4 million people live within a 50 mile radius of San Onofore Nuclear Plant? Do you know that homeowners insurance does not cover damage from nuclear reactors? Do you and your loved ones have an emergency plan ready in the event that San Onofore goes the way of Fukushima?
Gary Headrick from The San Clemente Greens gave an informative and, for me, eye opening talk at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Irvine about the San Onofore Nuclear Reactor. It has been shut down for nearly 6 months now; concerned citizens working with San Clemente Greens hope to keep it that way.
Here’s a brief account of why the reactor is offline. San Onofre was taken out of service January 31, 2012 due to radiation leaks caused by excessive tube wear in newly replaced steam generators. Generators are supposed to keep the reactor cool, so generator failure can cause uncontrolled radiation leaks. Upon inspection, it was found that all four generators in the number two reactor showed premature wear. They are only 2 years old – and cost taxpayers almost 700 million dollars! Before the work was started, Edison told the public that the new generators would last 40+ years. If you ask me, somebody needs to be fired!
Headrick told the group of about 40 people that he became involved in 2010 after being approached by a ‘whistleblower’ about numerous safety violations at the plant. They include harassment and retaliation to employees who speak up to management about problems, falsifying reports, and some workers just not doing their job. One guy was fired for smoking pot at the plant! At least management let this guy go, but what about falsifying reports? That seems to be an ongoing problem. It sounds to me that people are not doing the job they are being paid to do and the public could pay the price.
San Onofore was built in the 1960s and Unit 1 closed permanently in 1992, because of a radiation leak. Sound familiar? Back then, the environmental group Friends of the Earth, along with public pressure, persuaded the California Public Utilities Commission [CPUC] to keep Unit 1 closed. It has since been dismantled and is now used as a storage site for spent fuel. Its reported that the radioactive waste stored under Unit 1 continues to produce toxic waste and can remain toxic for thousands of years, but the lifespan of a reactor is only about 40 years. I’ll bet that that’s not listed in any vacation pamphlet.
Units 2 and 3 took over the workload from Unit 1 in the 1980s and are the ones currently closed down in 2012. The reactor was originally built to withstand a 7.0 earthquake, but sits on a fault line that could produce an 8.0. We all heard about California being overdue for a big quake, so if there is a big nuclear accident most of Southern California could conceivably become a dead zone for many generations.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission [NRC] reported that San Onofore continues to have problems with staff making poor decisions, and retaliation against whistleblowers. According to Headrick, San Onofore is ranked number one in the nation for violations and complaints. The NRC, which is supposed to ensure that reactors are safe and following the law, is even under investigation for reducing safety standards for San Onofore because it’s an older plant. Headrick told me that California has banned anymore reactors from being built in the state until a safe way is found to store the spent fuel rods.
Southern California Edison is pushing hard to allow them to restart Unit 2 at 80% capacity,because they say they are losing a million dollars every day that it is closed. In reality, no one knows what will happen when Unit 2 goes online again — and if the only way to find out is to turn it on, I say keep it off. I am not willing to gamble that something may or may not happen. Are you?
Headrick is available to speak to other groups around Southern California. The goal is to get all of the surrounding City Councils to write to the CPUC and NRC to make sure San Onofore stays offline. You can contact him through www.sanclementegreen.org/
An online petition is in the works; I will post the link as soon as I get it so that people can sign and pass on to others. Oh, and for all those ‘Chicken Littles’ who claimed that rates will skyrocket or we will have blackouts if the plant is closed; the reactor has been closed for almost 6 months and we are doing just fine.