By Ace Hoffman

June 27th, 2013

Dear Readers,

“Friends of the Earth” (FOE) released a report today which endorses moving all the spent fuel at San Onofre to on-site dry cask storage as quickly as possible.

Not “hardened” storage — at least, the word was not used in the press release, and the finances proposed in the longer report did not provide for it.

Not transportable containers — the funding for such things also wasn’t included.

Not containers widely spread out and separated by earthen berms, with deep pits and channels for jet fuel to run off into, just in case a plane crashes into them.

Not containers stored underground, with high walls to prevent line-of-sight attacks, and strong roofs.  No place for such things was named.  No money for such things was allotted.

Where would FOE’s “hardened” dry casks be located?  Camp Pendleton?  The moon?  Up and down San Onofre State Beach?

No, that’s not what FOE recommended.  They’re recommending, in the strongest terms, plain-vanilla dry cask storage such as they’ve been doing at San Onofre for over a decade already — at a frantic pace, I might add — and have been doing nationally since 1986.  Over 1500 dry casks sit waiting around the country right now.

Waiting for what?  To be breached!

We already have about 50 dry casks at San Onofre.  The rest of the fuel is in the spent fuel pools, and Unit two’s reactor is still filled with fuel at this moment.

I asked Mr. Headrick of SCGreen, who, along with FOE, has endorsed dry cask storage, if he thought it was strange that he was endorsing exactly what SCE’s expected policy was.

He said he was afraid of “the big one” but admitted to not being an expert.  Both dry casks and the spent fuel pool are built to the same seismic qualifications.  So what’s his rush?

Even the experts contracted by FOE (Arnie Gundersen, Robert Alverez and others) admit that we have a minimum of “five to seven years” before the pools can be completely emptied, because the most recently removed fuel cannot be removed from the spent fuel pools any sooner than that.

Why not put it in reusable shipping containers once, move it once, and be done with it?  At least move it to Palo Verde, assuming Diablo Canyon closes soon.  Move it to a place which hasn’t got the sense to close their own reactor.

Why should ANYONE rush to judgement and produce a report condemning SoCal’s 8.7 million residents to deadly dry cask storage?  Those casks will quite likely be here for hundreds of years — during what is by far the most deadly time for the fuel, because of the fission products it contains.

Worse, this FOE report was produced immediately after FOE had been supporting the local activists financially and in many other ways, yet without allowing the activists to have any input on FOE’s decision to endorse dry cask storage.  (This author commended FOE on their efforts to shut San Onofre not long ago.)

FOE’s been telling the NRC (and the media) they represent the citizens of southern California.  Do they?  Is eternal — until it fails — dry cask storage what southern Californians really want for the next seven, or seventy, or seven hundred — generations?

Friends Of the Earth (“experts”) and San Clemente Green (admittedly “not experts”) have done what no one else could do — they have condemned SoCal to a virtually permanent dry cask horror.  Fighting Goliath was hard enough when baby Goliath (FOE) was on our side.  Fighting Goliath and mini-Goliath together will be well nigh impossible.  So we’re getting dry casks, with no hope of removal.  Great job, FOE!  NOT!

Thanks to FOE’s endorsement, 8.7 million people who live within 50 miles of one of the nation’s largest nuclear waste dumps — formerly known as San Onofre Nuclear (Waste) Generating Station — can expect that dump to remain on the coast, in a tsunami inundation zone, in an earthquake zone, in a high population zone, for centuries.

Dry cask storage is NO solution to the nuclear waste problem!  Not here, not anywhere!

FOE’s report makes one minor allusion to the danger — namely, admitting it’s not perfectly safe.  In reality, it’s not even close.

I found out about FOE’s press release, while surfing the Internet on my “4G Note II” smart phone amidst a widespread, but short-lived, blackout.  Below are my tweets from this morning during the blackout regarding the FOE report, in reverse chronological order.

If the fission products or the plutonium or uranium in these dry casks is ever released for any reason, all the effort the activists had put into stopping San Onofre will have been for nothing.  It will be centuries before the danger significantly subsides, and the most dangerous time is right now.  Yet we talk about “temporary” solutions!  The best permanent solutions are needed as soon at the fuel can be moved — not “interim” anything!

There are no good solutions, so America should realize it must shut down ALL the other reactors.  And remove the fuel from southern California’s coast.  It’s just crazy not to.

But instead, FOE proposes to walk away from SanO’s mess, just like SCE wants to do.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Radioactive Waste Cleanup Continues At Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Link to FOE commissioned report on storage of nuclear waste at San Onofre, Calif. (PDF) …

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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