2nd Nuclear Waste Symposium/Radiation Monitoring

ROSE invites you to attend our upcoming 2nd event on Nuclear Waste with Tom English and Joe Moross. Real facts about what’s in the “cans” and what could come out of them. There will also be a discussion about Independent Real-Time Radiation Monitoring at San Onofre Nuclear Waste site with Joe Moross from Safecast on Oct 18, 2018, at 1201 Puerta Del Sol Suite 100 San Clemente, California 92673, 3 to 5:30 pm.  We will also discuss the higher radiation readings Darin and I got on our last visit to San Onofre Nuclear Waste site.

We plan to stay on these two topics because of the time factor. Also, we want to have lots of time for a real back and forth discussion on both topics, so bring your questions. They will be answered with the best information we have.

SCE was invited to participate in this symposium, but they declined because they do not want to come out and speak in public until sometime in November when the NRC will hold a meeting with their findings from the September 10 inspection. Joe Moross from Safecast is only here until late October which is why we are going ahead with this symposium.

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Implications of Basic Physics to the San Onofre “Near Miss” Incident

By Tom English, Samuel Lawrence Foundation

There was a “near miss” at the San Onofre nuclear power plant on August 3, 2018. The lives and economic well-being of 8.4 million people within a 50-mile radius of the plant have been put at risk. As workers were lowering a 49-ton thin-walled, 17-foot tall canister packed with high-burnup spent nuclear fuel, the canister got caught on the lip of a guiding ring, “hanging by about a quarter inch,” an OSHA inspector and whistleblower, David Fritch, told a stunned crowd at the end of a community meeting on August 9th. “It’s a bad day. That happened, and you haven’t heard about it, and that’s not right. What we have is a canister that could have fallen 18 feet.”

What would have happened if it had fallen? My colleagues at UCSD and the Samuel Lawrence Foundation have been examining the basic physics of that question. By examining the dropping of the canister in free fall, we can estimate the upper energy involved in the initial impact. For example, the falling canister could hit the concrete floor of the nuclear waste facility with the explosive energy larger than that of 2 large sticks of dynamite. The resultant damage to the canister could cause a large radiation release.

The NRC has previously done an analysis of a similar dropped nuclear waste canister with slightly thinner walls.1 This computer simulation included a 19-foot drop of the canister from the transfer cask onto a storage overpack pedestal. The canister failure rate was 28%. Similar calculations need to be performed for San Onofre to determine if the currently used system has such a catastrophically high probability of canister failure to levels that are considered acceptable in such a high population area.

The damage to the concrete and metal structure at the bottom of the hole could ruin the canister’s cooling system. The damage to the concrete would be like that of a fully loaded 18-wheeler truck with a gross weight of 80,000 pounds crashing into reinforced concrete at 23 miles per hour.

These nuclear canisters contain 37 spent fuel assemblies which generate an enormous amount of heat. They are cooled by a simple airduct system, whose pathway could be blocked by the damage caused by the canister’s fall. If this happens, large quantities of water would have to pour into the hole to cool the reaction and prevent or control a meltdown. Similarly, as at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power facility, the enveloping water would instantly become radioactive steam and require the evacuation of millions of people. Since both the canister and the surrounding structure could be badly damaged, there may be no available way to pull the damaged canister from the hole.

The analysis that we have done alerts the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and others that a more substantial analysis needs to be done of the damage caused by a falling 49-ton nuclear storage canister. Continuation of the loading of the fuel is clearly a very dangerous threat to the lives and livelihood of over 8.4 million people. Software and computer resources are available by which estimates can be made of the impacts of the drop on both the reinforced concrete, and the deformation of the walls on the canister.

Our preliminary calculations have already revealed that the combination of the weight and velocity of the canister exceeds the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI), “design criteria for tornado missiles,” by a factor of 4. It shall be important to also perform drop tests of the canisters with non-radioactive loads to experimentally determine what will happen to actual canisters.
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Dr. Tom English is a former advisor on high-level nuclear waste disposal to President Carter’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, NASA, the Ministry of Industry of the Government of Sweden, and the California Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission.
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1 Pg.4-24 Table 12, NUREG-1864 – A Pilot Probabilistic Risk Assessment of a Dry Cask Storage System at a Nuclear Power Plant March 2007, A. Malliakos, NRC Project Manager.

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Sept 6 visit to the San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump

Sept 6 visit to the San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump and why 24/7 Independent Real-time Radiation Monitoring is only the ethical first step we must demand in this process.

On our first visit to the San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump on June 12, 2018, Darin McClure and I wanted to go out and take a look at the progress of the construction of the ISFSI pad and check radiation levels of the new Holtec JC canisters with our SAFECAST BGEIGIE NANOS radiation monitors. At the March 2018 SCE Community Engagement Panel (CEP) I had introduced the idea of 24/7 Independent Real-time Radiation Monitoring at the San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump with access to the public. Tom Palmisano, Vice President of Decommissioning San Onofre, gave us permission to take a couple of readings with our new monitors as an example of how they work in relationship to SCE’s monitors. At that first visit, SCE agreed that our monitors were picking up comparable accurate readings with their instruments. After that first visit, I started asking myself if an early warning system was possible. After speaking with three experts in the field I had a pretty good plan for how it could be done, my answer was a resounding yes. On the June 12th visit, the radiation readings ranged from 264 to 324 counts per minute or CPM’s at the two Holtec canisters we measured.

At the August SCE CEP meeting, Tom Palmisano offered a counterproposal for real-time radiation monitoring. That proposal was the SCE monitors on site would go directly to Orange County and San Diego County emergency preparedness operations, but with no public access. I consider this a big win for us. But it is only a good step in the right direction of our negotiations for 24/7 independent real-time radiation monitoring with access to the public. But clearly in my mind and many others who are working for the safety of Southern California residents having access for the public is a must, considering the fact that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has made the San Onofre site a nuclear waste dump for a period of 299 years or until the Department of Energy (DOE) picks it up, and that puts a serious question in everyone’s timeline.

At the August SCE CEP meeting, again I asked Tom Palmisano if he would allow Darin and I to come out and measure all of the canisters on the ISIFI pad and I asked David Victor, chairman of the CEP, to join with us in this effort with his new bgeigie. He said yes. Now I am thinking we have engaged SCE and the CEP and we are working together for the perfection of public safety from the enemy which is radiation and not SCE or CEP. We agreed to meet on-site on September 6th at 2pm. Darin McClure, David Victor, Dan Stetson, Vice Chair of the CEP, and I all showed up on time and ready to go on to the ISFIS pad along with two SCE guides to answer our questions on site.

With our safecast bgeigie nanos in our hands, we all walked up the ramp to the Holtec side of the pad. We systematically walked down the aisles between all 29 Holtec canisters. We got readings from 36 to 649 CPM’s. Remember on our first trip to measure radiation we only measured two canisters. This time we measured each of the canisters on the Holtec side and it’s notable that we got this range of readings. Not too surprised at the higher readings having learned more about what to expect while monitoring on the ISFIS pad. To explain this I now need to explain about time, distance and shielding. These are factors in measuring radiation. The further you get away from the vent pipe the reading starts to go down and that is expected, also, with time, the readings go down because of dispersion; shielding, of course, is how effective the canister is from allowing radiation to escape the canisters. To see all the readings go to http://safecast.org/tilemap/?y=33.37016&x=-117.55535&z=16&l=0&m=0

Now over to the Areva side of the ISFIS pad. These are the older canisters, some that have been there for as long as 15 years. We started at the oldest canister (number 1) and we moved down the first aisle towards the end and we got the highest reading of the day which was 2024 CPM’s equal to 6.06 microSieverts is the dose rate. To understand the dose rate of 6.06 millisieverts it was explained by Dr. Patrick Patin of SDSU, if I stood next to this canister for 24 hrs a day for 365 days I would receive the legal dose for one year. That is not to say that would be good for anyone. The CPM number is the number of radiation particles that hit our Safecast bgeigie nanos, unfortunately, it is not making a distinction between Alpha, Beta, or Gamma radiation only that there is a radiation source nearby.

As to the highest reading of the Areva canisters, we must consider that these are older canisters with less of an ability to shield the radiation, therefore, we can expect higher readings from these canisters, which SCE said was normal and to be expected. SCE once again confirmed that our monitors were reading accurately.

As you should expect, there has been much discussion about these readings and how to understand them between the four novice users of this technology. We all have been consulting with different experts as well as SCE experts. What this user has found out is how this technology is scientific, but there is still an aspect of art to the interpretation and understanding of the qualifying circumstances and factors to these readings that are just difficult to grasp without much more experience. I can say with full confidence that we’ve all come to the conclusion that having qualified experts come in and take more readings may be the only way to get a justifiable, accurate and independent interpretation of these readings.

How can this be done? The obvious answer is to hire an independent expert, have someone from Safecast come and verify the information. To initiate the first step in this action, on September 7th I called Region 4 of the NRC to speak with the team leader Linda Howell who will be at San Onofre September 10th for the inspection and told her of our various readings on both sides of the ISFIS pad and made an official request that the NRC monitor the ISFIS pad while they are here for the Sept 10-14 inspection. These readings should be part of their report.

I hope to have SCE give their explanation of these readings as part of this article or in a separate article of their own. ROSE has been working hard over the last few months with the Community Engagement Panel and Southern California Edison to ensure more cooperation and transparency with the public that I personally hope will result in better safety around the ethics of having a nuclear waste dump in Southern California. ROSE is working with SCE and independent experts, to understand the way the nuclear industry looks at radiation, how the public looks at radiation and a way for all of us to see the truth of it.

To achieve these goals it is important to have the support of the people of Southern California and the city leaders of our communities and to insist that Southern California Edison install 24/7 Independent Real-time Radiation Monitoring at the New San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump with free access to the public.

For those interested in finding the best technologies to achieve our goals here are some links you may find interesting. “Lighthouse Detector” can distinguish between many sources of radiation. https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/09/lighthouse-detector-can-distinguish-between-many-sources-of-radiation/
Bicron RSO-5 https://www.uml.edu/Radiation-safety/Using-Rad-Materials/Detectors/Dose-Measurements/Bicron-RSO-5.aspx
Safecast https://blog.safecast.org/

ROSE wants to thank Public Watchdogs and give you a big thank you for your help in obtaining the SAFECAST BGEIGIE NANOS radiation monitors. This effort on your part has been a tremendous help in obtaining transparency and cooperation with Southern California Edison to find out what amounts of radiation is coming out of the Areva and Holtec canisters at the San Onofre Nuclear Dump.

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Independent Real-Time Rad Monitoring Petition

Join us today! If you had a nuclear waste dump near you do you think it should have an Independent Real-Time Radiation Monitoring system? We do right here at San Onofre, less than 4 miles from town.
Sign the Petition at:

https://www.change.org/p/genston-sbcglobal-net-i-m-for-independent-real-time-radiation-monitoring-at-san-onofre?recruiter=1488315&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_petition

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SAFECAST DEVICES USED FOR FIRST READINGS INSIDE A US NUCLEAR PLANT

SAFECAST DEVICES USED FOR FIRST READINGS INSIDE A US NUCLEAR PLANT Thursday, July 5th, 2018 by MARC PROSSER

GENE STONE (LEFT) AND DARIN R. MCCLURE (RIGHT) FROM ROSE INSIDE THE SAN ONOFRE SITE WITH THEIR SAFECAST BGEIGIE NANOS.

Safecast-collaborators from the NGO Residents Organized for a Safe Environment (ROSE) recently used a bGeigie Nano when visiting the site of the San Onofre nuclear plant in California. It was the first time that Safecast’s devices have been used to make measurements inside a US nuclear plant facility.

The group, which also hosts a Solarcast, has been volunteering with Safecast for a while now, and their strong, local efforts combined with Safecast’s reputation and standing could lead to several Solarcasts finding a more permanent home on the grounds of the San Onofre Plant.

“Our collaboration has the potential to lead to the creation of the first monitoring system of its kind in the US, which would be really exciting, and show the value of local groups having open, accessible tools to work with, rather than having to rely solely on equipment and measurements from companies and government organisations,” Sean Bonner of Safecast says.

Potential real-time monitoring system

ROSE is looking to use Solarcast Nano-devices as a permanent first-alert system for the San Onofre, nuclear waste dump. The plan is to place the Solarcast Nanos close to the heat vents of the 72 Holtex and 51 Areva canisters at San Onofre.

This would enable better monitoring of the canisters and a quicker response in case of leakage.

PICTURE TAKEN BY ROSE DURING THEIR VISIT TO THE SAN ONOFRE SITE.

“If the CPM numbers measured at the vent stay stable over a given period, that would indicate that there were no leaks. However, if this same canister’s numbers moved up significantly for an extended period, that would be an indication that a leak had begun. Some of those cans – which is probably a more correct way of describing them – are already 15 years old,” Gene Stone of ROSE, says.

He also notes that while South Californian Edison (SCE), which oversees the nuclear waste site, has monitors on the site, they are located on the fence surrounding the area, meaning that they are more than 50 feet away.

“We believe that is too far away to pick up subtle shifts, in part because they are monitoring in Rems instead of CPM’s,” Darin McClure of ROSE says.

SCE monitoring is closed, single source and requires people to trust that a company is checking itself, whereas Safecast is independent and open and doesn’t have a financial stake. Having both Safecast and SCE data available to the public would lead to higher degrees of trust and assurance of the situation.

ROSE is currently in negotiations with SCE regarding putting Solarcast Nanos near the heat vents.

Quicker warnings for the public

Real-time data from the Safecast Solarcast Nanos located at the heat vents would be crucial in creating a warning system, which could dramatically lower the response time to any leaks and make it possible for locals to receive real-time alerts in case of any leaks.

“I think there are something like 70 million people living within a 100-mile radius of the site. I think that only a small percentage of people in the area are aware of what could happen if there was a serious leak. Today, you can’t sell a house in California without carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. An early warning system would provide the same kind of information but for radiation,” Darin McClure says.

He notes that the system would also enable SCE to respond quickly to any leaks.

“Currently, SCE carries out measurements, but it happens infrequently,” Gene Stone says.

Safecast has been working with ROSE in relation to the system and believes that, while funding and details still need to be worked out, the Solarcast Nanos would be a good fit.

“The Solarcast, the new Solarcast Nano, and the earlier Pointcast system were designed specifically for that kind of always-on-always-connected purpose. So, a real-time first alert system is a good idea. We’d love to work with ROSE and South Californian Edison to put together an appropriate system though, and honestly, the new Solarcast Nano’s might be perfect for this,” Sean Bonner says.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MARC PROSSER
Marc is British, Danish, Geekish, Bookish, Sportish, and loves anything in the world that goes ‘booiingg’. He is a freelance journalist and researcher living in Tokyo and writes about all things science and tech. He started volunteering for Safecast after writing articles about their work following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami – and because he believes that data and technology should be open and readily available.

Reposted with permission from Safecast.

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Independent Rad Monitoring/Symposium on Radiation for San Onofre Nuke Dump

via Independent Rad Monitoring/Symposium on Radiation for San Onofre Nuke Dump

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Independent Rad Monitoring/Symposium on Radiation for San Onofre Nuke Dump

Below is an action alert that ROSE is sending to some members of the CEP. I hope you may want to join us in this action for our community. We need 1000 people to send an email to the CEP. If you are willing please send them a note, copy and paste or write your own text. Then send it to these email addresses: david.victor@ucsd.edu,
manuel.camargo@sce.com,Tom.Palmisano@sce.com, danstetson@me.com,garry@coastkeeper.org,marnimagda@gmail.com, genston@sbcglobal.net,

The subject line should read “Independent Rad Monitoring/Symposium on Radiation”

Community Engagement Panel members,

I am asking each of you as CEP members to support and to take action ASAP along with SCE for a public CEP meeting on “Independent Real-time Radiation Monitoring” for San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump, and a second CEP meeting for an “Educational Symposium on Radiation” with “independent” radiation experts along with experts from SCE and the NRC. This a necessary step for all the stakeholders to understand what is in and what could come out of these canisters now or in the future. Thank you for your consideration of these two programs for the safety of our community.

Sincerely,(your name here)

Here at ROSE, we are working hard to understand the full effects of radiation that is now setting on our beloved “Old Mans Beach” in cans above and below ground, and how to provide the best early warning system with today’s technology for the safety of our community. Thank you for your help to achieve this goal.

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