Letter to the NRC

Dear Chairman,

We were stunned to learn recently that for nearly three decades, the San Onofre nuclear reactors have been operating with inherently flawed backup emergency diesel generators, flaws that could have caused these generators to shut down as a result of a major earthquake. According to documents submitted to the NRC on May 14 of this year by Southern California Edison, the operator of the San Onofre plant, the effect of a major seismic event on the high-frequency sensors that would trigger the shutdown of the backup generators had not been analyzed. Upon discovering this issue, the sensors were immediately turned off, indicating significant safety concerns.

Allowing the San Onofre nuclear reactors, located directly next to major fault lines, to operate with such a fundamental safety issue unexamined for three decades is a dramatic failure on the part of the commission. The loss of both offsite and onsite power, or station blackout, is the very condition that led to the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi (Japan). As you are aware, the seismic vulnerability of nuclear reactors has become an even more urgent issue in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. We are well aware of your particular concerns in this area. Tuesday’s news underscores the need for immediate and urgent action.

This critical safety flaw, only now revealed, posed an unacceptable risk to the 8 million people who live within 50 miles of the San Onofre nuclear plant and the untold numbers that would be affected by radioactive fallout from a catastrophic accident at this plant. We are writing today to demand a public explanation from the NRC as to how the commission could fail so drastically to fulfill its responsibility to our families, our communities and the citizens of this country to ensure the safety of San Onofre.

This critical problem with the emergency backup generators, and the astounding amount of time before the issue came to light, is but one example of the perfunctory oversight and pervasive lack of safety culture within the NRC and the nuclear industry.

The San Onofre nuclear reactors have been offline for four months due to the rupture of tubes in the recently replaced steam generators. Southern California Edison presented this as a like-for-like replacement, and the commission rubber-stamped the licensing. Had the NRC examined these replacement steam generators, it would have uncovered significant modifications of the original design that led to their failure and the release of radioactive steam less than two years after installation.

This lack of adequate oversight not only poses a threat to our communities but has come at a cost of $670.8 million. We, as ratepayers, have been forced to foot the bill for these critically flawed steam generators. Although Southern California Edison also shares in the responsibility to adequately maintain and evaluate the safety of the San Onofre plant, it is your responsibility to hold them accountable.

We are deeply concerned about the lack of transparency and disregard for safety on the part of Southern California Edison and that the NRC has failed in its responsibility to ensure the safety of San Onofre. We find it unacceptable that we have been living with this unknown threat for decades.

We look forward to your timely response to our concerns.

Gene Stone, Residents Organized for a Safe Environment

Donna Gilmore, San Onofre Safety

Gary Headrick, San Clemente Green


About residentsorganizedforasafeenvironment

Vision for ROSE Working for the good of the Mother Earth. To provide a safe and clean planet for our children and grandchildren, and the seven generations to come. Working to support Ethically Sound Environmental decisions for the future. We hold the power of our vision in our own hands.
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One Response to Letter to the NRC

  1. CaptD says:

    FINALLY some credible reporting on what has up until this point been mostly Nuclear Baloney* foisted upon both Japan, North America and all those now breathing Fukushima radioactive pollution GLOBALLY…

    LEFT UNSAID, is why anyone should accept any amounts of radioactive pollution from any reactor World-Wide. If radioactive pollution from say Iran or North Korea covered the USA and Europe like Fukushima’s radioactivity is now doing, the USA and or NATO would be considering bombing them or at lease rattling sabers; yet because it is Japan, the Nuclear Fascists** just put on a happy face and lobby for ever more nuclear reactors.

    Thanks to the web and blogs like this one, many have taken up the call to report on what is really happening not just in Japan but in every Country that is plagued by leaking and or aged reactors. No more are people willing to accept the myth of 100% safety since Fukushima proved beyond a doubt that Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365! That realization plus the RISK of a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima have made even previous supporters of nuclear energy rethink future Energy plans. With the cost of Solar (of all flavors) dropping almost monthly and the cost of nuclear spiraling ever upward, shifting to renewables has never been more practical unless you are receiving some form of Nuclear Payback***.

    * http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Nuclear+Baloney
    ** http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nuclear+fascism
    *** http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Nuclear+payback
    Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

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