By Gary Headrick, San Clemente Green
On October 9 at 5:30 p.m. the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will hold a meeting in Dana Point at the St. Regis Hotel to listen to public concerns about restarting Edison’s nuclear power plant. To put it in easily understood terms, the current problem with steam generators is comparable to driving a car with a radiator that was improperly designed for the engine’s needs, causing the car to overheat. The difference is that the steam from the nuclear power plant is highly radioactive and the engine could turn into a dirty-bomb threatening everything within 50 miles and beyond. Edison wants us pay to repair their old jalopy rather than invest in the latest and greatest alternatives, which pose little or no threat at all. Which option would you prefer? We’ve already seen that we can live without nuclear power for the past nine months now. Why take the risk?
The answer seems so obvious, yet those responsible for our safety continue to consider this dangerous option being proposed by Edison. For some unexplainable reason, the NRC is opposed to calling for a hearing that would open this debate to a larger pool of independent nuclear experts. It is extremely important to be able to question the assumptions of the industry and offer evidence contrary to that presented by those who have a financial stake in the outcome of this decision. This judiciary hearing is a well-established protocol within the NRC’s jurisdiction known as a License Amendment. The fact that the NRC allowed Edison to install the re-designed steam generators without going through this standard procedure to begin with needs further investigation. The additional fact that the NRC continues to resist such a reasonable request for this hearing, after witnessing the disastrous results from their lack of oversight and reluctance to follow their own procedures, should be of grave concern to us all.
This may be a harsh dose of reality for those who are accustomed to trusting the regulators responsible for our safety and well being, but one does not have to look far for recent examples of this unfortunate truth. Three Mile Island, Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, Wall Street and now Fukushima all could have been prevented with proper oversight. Instead, red flags were ignored by regulators who became just a little too relaxed while on duty. We can’t let this happen again in our own backyard. It is now our responsibility to insist that these public servants do their jobs before it is too late. We need to demand high standards for our safety and not be lulled into a false sense of security. Certainly a transparent and judicious hearing is not too much to expect with so much at stake. Other citizens living near nuclear power plants around the globe are anxious to see how we respond while the NRC and the nuclear industry as a whole nervously measure our resolve. Show up and be counted on October 9th. The safety of your family, home and community depend on it.
A few other red flags to consider:
San Onofre has the worst safety record of all in the U.S.
Schools have thousands more students than buses can evacuate.
It was built to withstand a 7.0 earthquake but a 7.8 is very likely, (600% greater).
Tons of highly radioactive waste is stored on-site in pools.
The Tsunami Wall is only 14 feet above high tide.
Insurance will not cover losses due to radiation.
(see sources at SanOnofreSafety.org)
Be sure to join us at Café Calypso Friday at 8:00am to continue this discussion in person.