The HI-STORM UMAX cask model by Holtec International, used to store dry spent nuclear fuel, has been criticized in public meetings as being susceptible to cracking after years of storage. Holtec and Southern California Edison were awarded a permit to store spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station site last year. Photo: Published by Holtec International
The HI-STORM UMAX cask model by Holtec International, used to store dry spent nuclear fuel, has been criticized in public meetings as being susceptible to cracking after years of storage. Holtec and Southern California Edison were awarded a permit to store spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station site last year. Photo: Published by Holtec International

Donna Gilmore, San Clemente

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s 51 nuclear waste canisters may be cracking. They cannot be inspected, repaired or maintained and have no early warning prior to a radiation release. Each canister contains about as much Cesium-137 as released from Chernobyl. Waste can explode if exposed to air. Radiation will go wherever the wind blows. Southern California Edison has no plans in place to stop this. They plan more thin-walled (five-eighths-inch) canisters. A 2015 Sandia National Laboratories report states once started, cracks can penetrate the canister wall in less than five years. San Onofre canister loading began in 2003.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Mark Lombard said canisters cannot be inspected. Holtec’s canister vendor said they cannot be repaired.

Southern California Edison’s Coastal Permit required Special Conditions: canisters must be inspected, repaired, maintained, monitored and transportable—but only after 20 years! Communities must demand the Coastal Commission revoke SCE Permit 9-15-0162 until Special Conditions are met. SCE can meet these with thick-walled (10 inches or more) metal casks used in most of the world.

To transport, canisters need up to 45 years cooling and cannot have cracks. Canisters may start exploding before moved. And what community wants cracking nuclear waste canisters?

About The Author Staff

comments (20)

    • @ Gary Headrick

      What would you know about facts, Gary? After all the false statements you and the rest of the anti-nuke zealots have made? Are you going to stick by your false statement that San Onofre’s tube leak almost resulted in another Fukushima?
      How about the false statements you made to news gal, Vikki Vargas?
      How about the lies that were found on your anti-nuke website, the ones claiming San Onofre’s emergency batteries were disconnected for 4 years? Can you drive your car with the battery disconnected…for four years?
      How about the false statements made by your anti-nuke buddy, Gene Stone, at the first Community Engagement Panel where he claimed TMI’s canisters were leaking and that 2000 Mega Watts of solar energy, apart from roof top solar, had come on line in CA since the shutdown of San Onofre?
      How about your anti-nuke buddy, Ace Hoffman’s statement that just the flip of a wrong switch or valve could melt down a nuclear plant and his refusal to name such a magical switch or valve?
      How about the malarkey that regularly emanates from the pen of Roger “truck bomb” Johnson whose bogus statements could fill several posts?

      You and your anti-nuke zealots have zero credibility having no compunction about putting out false or misleading information. Your one-sided horse manure would be an embarrassment to
      to anyone having a scintilla of integrity but you have (collectively) been doing it so long you’ve all become numb.

      Isn’t it enough that you have played a part in some 1200 people losing their jobs? That now millions must be spent on electric equipment to hold up the voltage in this area, equipment that wasn’t needed or necessary until you helped San Onofre get shut down?
      Give it a rest Gary, you’ve done enough harm.

  • Watch NRC’s Mark Lombard say canisters cannot be inspected
    Watch Holtec vendor Kris Singh say they cannot be repaired.

    Handout to share on this issue containing more details.

    Comments submitted to the NRC regarding decommissioning and spent fuel management. They contain more details and sources.

    To learn more and help protect our future go to

  • Southern California Edison purposeful actions of buying inferior cast endsngers every citizen in San Clemente. The thousands of tons of nuclear waste is a legacy that will endanger the area for 500,000 years.

    To my mind this is a criminal action by Southern California Edison!

  • @ Donna,

    “Waste can explode if exposed to air.”

    How predictable that you ignored the canister that has been allowed to leak for the past two years (in a test environment) and none of the dangerous phenomenon you try to frighten the public with has occurred. Why not? In addition, the canister that was actually filled with air (done 36 years ago when this phenomenon was not well understood) only resulted in a temperature rise and further fuel damage, no explosion. Canisters are now filled with Helium.

    The following is my response to an earlier attempt of yours to hoodwink the public:

    Originally you claimed canisters could leak in 30 years, then it was 17, now it appears you’re going with 20 years. Of course commercial nuclear plants have been storing fuel in this manner for 30 years and have yet to experience the kind of problems you prognosticate. In addition, independent investigator and chairman of the CEP, David Victor, after reviewing all the literature on this subject, had this to say:

    “Based on an extensive review and re-review of all the evidence I don’t see any support for these rapid corrosion, cracking and through wall penetration scenarios. Moreover, I note that EPRI has recently released a report that examines exactly this scenario. That report looks at the scenario that would unfold after conditions for cracking had been established and after a crack had initiated. How long would it take for a crack, then, to travel through the walls if the crack were not detected and stopped? EPRI’s answer is about 80 years.”

    This is in agreement with the clip you posted elsewhere where in answer to your question, the representative stated that AFTER the initiation of a crack (it takes years for crack initiation), it would take 86 years as a “most conservative” estimate, to go through wall. Begin at 29:15 for the relevant portion of this discussion.

    Furthermore, David Victor says:

    “Results from an actual cask that has been allowed to leak slowly for 2 years show, as well, that intrusion of water and the formation of hydrogen gas can’t reach explosive levels (section 4.4.3, page 4-25). I learned two things from this work. First, there is simply zero basis for the highly emotive statements that I have seen in the press and various other locations for the view that long-term storage of the fuel on site at SONGS has put “another Fukushima” or “another Chernobyl” in our backyard. We do the public a disservice with such emotive language since it creates images that are not in any way rooted in the technical assessment of the real risks.”

    It is YOU and your followers who use the kind of “emotive language” that independent investigator, David Victor, decries.

    Your claim above: “…and Edison is not addressing this real problem.”

    Your statement is not only a false statement, YOU know it is a false statement and we know what it is called when people knowingly and deliberately make false statements.

    Regarding Dr. Singh’s statement, you are again engaging in deliberate deception because you fail to report what Dr. Singh’s point was. He said (at about the 45 second mark) “you can EASILY easily isolate that canister” words you chose to ignore and not report on. His company prefers to simply place one canister inside another should a theoretical crack occur vice repairing the canister. Either option provides a solution, solutions you pretend don’t exist.

    Are you hoping the general public doesn’t watch the Mark Lombard clip you included but simply believes the narrative you wish to portray? Above, YOU use the figure of 7 years before a canister leak could happen and in the Lombard clip he says in regards to detecting canister cracks “Not quite there yet but they are very very close.” He goes on to say that the robotics on this issue have “tremendously improved over the last six months even”. In addition, in the same post above where you claim Edison is not addressing this “real problem”, you also provide the Lombard clip of the NRC doing exactly what you claim is not happening…addressing this “real problem”. Only in the agenda driven anti-nuclear world can one have their cake and eat it too; where inconsistencies are ignored in the hopes that the public won’t notice.

    As to the pyrophoric reaction of fuel, let us again look at David Victor’s report. He said “Results from an actual cask that has been allowed to leak slowly for 2 years show, as well, that intrusion of water and the formation of hydrogen gas can’t reach explosive levels (section 4.4.3, page 4-25).”

    Next, from the report you cited, it gave the example of a cask which was filled with air as opposed to helium as is the practice today. Contrary to your assertions in YOUR video Safety Over Profits where you claimed an accident worse than Fukushima could occur, in this instance, temperature was increased and there was further fuel damage (these events can ONLY happen if there is already fuel damage) but the conclusion was “that other than the gross internal and external contamination that precluded use of the cask, none of the cask parameters considered in the SAR were exceeded.” This was 36 years ago when these phenomenon were not well understood. In the case of a canister crack, as unlikely as that is (again Victor’s report says 80 years as a conservative estimate AFTER crack initiation and with NO actions to mitigate the situation), air in leakage would be a very slow process during which temperatures (which are monitored) and radiation levels (which are also monitored) would rise alerting personnel for the need to take action. These reactions are temperature dependent and over time, as the fuel cools, a highly unlikely phenomenon (pyrophoric reaction), occurring as the result of air in leakage through a hair line crack (another unlikely situation), becomes even less likely.

    Finally, there is a good amount of experience handling damaged fuel in air where this pyrophoric phenomenon has not occurred and there is professional disagreement on how likely it is to occur. The industry has taken steps to insure that air is not introduced to fuel of any condition, but actual events as described above including canisters allowed to leak as part of a study, make abundantly clear that these scenarios are not the danger to the public that activists wish to portray. It is as David Victor has stated “We do the public a disservice with such emotive language since it creates images that are not in any way rooted in the technical assessment of the real risks.”

    • Regarding the change of when canisters can start leaking, this was due to the misinformation provided by the NRC (8/5/2014). They originally said it would take at least 30 years before canisters would be at a low enough temperature for moisture to cause salts to dissolve on the canister and start the corrosion/cracking process. I subsequently learned the NRC was wrong. EPRI checked the temperature of two Diablo Canyon canisters and found temperatures low enough for moisture to stay on the canister and they also found corrosive salts. The canisters were only two and three years old, respectively. Also, an NRC document shows a similar component at the Koeberg nuclear power plant leaked in 17 years. The deepest crack was 0.61”. This was a waste water tank the NRC considered comparable to the spent fuel canisters. The NRC stated there is not enough operating experience with the thin canisters, so they used comparable components (8/5/2014). The Koeberg tank was at ambient temperature. I have since learned from the 2015 Sandia Lab report that hotter canisters can have through-wall cracks in about 1 to 5 years AFTER a crack starts. This is with a 5/8” thick canister, the same thickness used at San Onofre. Most other plants use ½” thick canisters.

      Regarding the David Victor reference to the EPRI report, that report cherry-picked information to reach that “about 80+ year” conclusion. The EPRI report excluded the Diablo Canyon and Koeberg information, excluded environmental conditions such as frequent fog, on-shore winds and surf (as found at San Onofre and Koeberg). The nuclear industry doesn’t make it easy to find the truth, so you need to look deeper and read reports in detail. This link contains my critique to that EPRI report.

      Regarding the NRC Lombard video and the Holtec Singh video, I recommend people watch them and decide for themselves. It’s unconscionable that the NRC approves canisters that cannot be inspected or maintained and that Holtec would design and manufacture a canister that cannot be inspected and that Singh says cannot be repaired. The robotic arm that Lombard referenced is not the inspection technology needed to go on the end of that arm. A distinction I had to make clear at the Coastal Commission meeting, since Lombard wasn’t going to tell them that.

      It costs about $4 million for each one of these canister systems (including the concrete infrastructure, canister and labor). Edison plans to use all of our Decommissioning Trust Fund assuming nothing will go wrong with these canisters and assuming the DOE will be able to find a willing community to move these in the relatively near future. That $4 million estimate is based on the estimate in Edison’s Decommissioning Plan. Edison refused to share the actual costs even though they have those from Holtec.

      Regarding Victor’s EPRI quote about no explosive levels of hydrogen, this referred to a REA-2023 cask that did not contain high burnup fuel. High burnup fuel (like that stored at San Onofre) generates more hydrides. See DOE report that references the REA-2023 cask.

  • What Donna won’t tell the public because it doesn’t comport with her narrative to frighten the public, is that the casks she wants SCE to use are too heavy for San Onofre’s crane equipment meaning they can’t be used even if SCE wanted to.

    They have inferior bolted lids as opposed to the double welds that both the Areva and Holtec designs that SCE is currently using or will use, have.

    They do not have a license either for storage or transport in the US and were denied a license to transport when the attempt was made years ago (because the NRC feared the cast iron would shatter if dropped), the company that produces Donna’s casks has no presence in the US and only one other site in America has these casks (about 8 of them) thus minimizing the amount of shared experience available from other sites. These cast iron casks never passed the design criteria SCE originally mandated, the stainless steel canisters did and in fact, they are what the entire US industry are using.

    The public should be asking Donna to address these problems BEFORE they discard the advice of their Community Engagement Panel (CEP) who has endorsed the plan adopted by SCE.
    For an in depth discussion of why Donna’s chosen casks were never seriously considered in favor of the far superior canisters SCE chose, see the report by independent investigator and chairman of the CEP, David Victor.

    • Regarding cranes, different cranes can be used. Bolted lid thick casks are superior to thin welded stainless steel canisters. Cracks in thin canisters cannot even be found let alone repaired. Bolted lid thick casks have two separate lids, each one with double metal seals. Continuous pressure changes are monitored between the seals, so if there is a change in pressure, this is an early warning monitoring system prior to a radiation leak. Seals can be replaced, if needed. The double bolted lids provide redundancy. If one fails, the other lid or seal still contains the radiation. Thin canisters do not have this redundancy or early warning system. The thick metal casks do not have the cracking problem of the thin canisters and by the nature of their 10″ to almost 20″ thickness provides another level of defense in depth.

      The myth the thick ductile cast iron would shatter if dropped has been dispelled by a 1998 Sandia Lab report that shows they are actually superior to the thin canister designs. The German ductile cast iron casks (e.g., CASTOR) “perform in an exemplary manner”and do not have embrittlement issues. Fracture Mechanics Based Design for Radioactive Material Transport Packagings Historical Review, SAND98-0764 UC-804, April 1998

      I shared this report with the NRC Division of Spent Fuel Management. They apparently had not seen it. It addressed the NRC concerns.

      There are thick metal casks approved by the NRC such as the Areva TN-32. And if Edison requirements had included the ability to inspect, repair, maintain and have an early warning monitoring system, only thick casks would have been bid. Because of Edison’s lower requirements only the cheaper thin canister were bid. Edison refused to allow the German cask company to bid. They also claim Areva only bid the thin canisters — that’s because Edison’s requirements were so low. Would you buy a car that could not be inspected, repaired, maintained and had no warning prior to an engine or brake failure? That is what Edison is trying to force us to buy.

      The U.S. nuclear industry switched to the thin canister design because they are cheaper in the short term. U.S. utility companies choose the inferior steel/concrete canister designs due to cost. According to the National Research Council of the National Academies (2006), Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage, National Academies Press, Washington D.C., page 63.

      “The vendors informed the committee that cost is the chief consideration for their customers when making purchasing decisions. Cost considerations are driving the cask industry away from all-metal [thick] cask designs and toward [steel/]concrete designs for storage.”

      Edison appointed David Victor who also sits on the EPRI utility funded Board. He is not an “independent” investigator. Victor’s report was based more on opinion than facts and the “hope” that all these problems would somehow be resolved. I was invited to work with Victor on this report. He ignored documented facts that did not fit the conclusion he wanted (which is the conclusion Edison wanted). Read the report for yourself.

      I think David Davison’s intentions are good, but he tends to believe what he is told by Edison and nuclear industry vendors and also ignores technical documents I have provided him numerous times. He has not provided technical references to substantiate his claims.

      • @ Donna

        “Regarding cranes, different cranes can be used.”

        This is another reason your judgement cannot be trusted. The cranes used to move canisters at SONGs are not portable cranes where simply wheeling in a heavier duty crane is possible. These cranes (1 for each unit) are permanently installed equipment that are integral to the building structure itself. Is it possible to remove the crane? Yes, practical, no. Would the building structure be able to handle a further 10 tons of lifting capacity should management consider replacing cranes? That is an unknown, so an engineering study would have to be performed just to determine whether the building could handle this extra weight. That is more time and money wasted…but, that is exactly Donna’s intention. Anti-nukes wish to make any and every activity at a nuclear plant as expensive as possible as a warning to any energy company considering building a nuclear plant.

        So, for the armchair layman, simply dismissing the difficulties involved is easy; but for those who are required to make these decisions AND implement them and justify to the public why they wasted millions on an engineering study that may only confirm the impracticality of the crane change and to do so only to satisfy a handful of anti-nuclear zealots, is a far more serious matter.

        To ask if it is feasible is ok, but to simply make the statement that cranes can be changed without an appreciation of the difficulties involved is to confirm your lack of credibility.

      • @ Donna

        “Bolted lid thick casks are superior to thin welded stainless steel canisters.”

        That is YOUR opinion, the opinion of a layman and not shared by the entire US nuclear industry nor the NRC.

        “Bolted lid thick casks have two separate lids…”

        So do the stainless steel canisters and their seals are welded and as I’ve pointed out to you on numerous occasions, a weld is SUPERIOR to a mechanical seal. The reason the casks you prefer have a monitoring system is precisely because they are more susceptible to a leak. The stainless steel canisters the entire US nuclear industry uses now don’t need a monitoring system because they ARE welded. A feature you assume is an advantage over welded canisters is there because a mechanical seal is INFERIOR to a weld. Any engineer reading this will tell you that in terms of sealing capability, a weld is superior to a mechanical seal. I think you get this, I think you understand this, but because it undermines your narrative, you publicly deny it.

        “Seals can be replaced, if needed.”

        How are you going to replace an inner seal?

        “Thin canisters do not have this redundancy …”

        Yes they do, they use superior welds as opposed to inferior mechanical seals.

        You and your followers consistently point to studies that you mischaracterize as supporting your view point. You make a statement and then post your website (that links to the study) without ever demonstrating that said website supports your assertions. You hope the average citizen won’t look too deeply into the study or understand it if they do. Thus, Roger Johnson’s foolish misuse of San Onofre’s effluent report (for 2012) where he misunderstood all the parameters used and failed to see or report on how little radiation dose the public receives (using the year HE CHOSE) from San Onofre. Then there is the consistent misunderstanding of probabilistic risk studies by your adherents as well as the 15 nation radiation/cancer study that has been debunked or the problems in your own cited German KiKK study.

        Also, you keep repeating that Dr. Singh said canisters can’t be repaired…a deliberate deception on your part. He did NOT say canisters can’t be repaired. Dr. Singh’s point is that it is difficult to find and repair a crack, not that it can’t be done. In addition, he said (at about the 45 second mark) “you can EASILY easily isolate that canister” words you choose to ignore and not report on. His company prefers to simply place one canister inside another should a theoretical crack occur vice repairing the canister. Either option provides a solution, solutions you pretend don’t exist. You are deceiving the public when you continue to repeat this falsehood. Should any doubt this, listen carefully to Dr. Singh’s statements in the video Donna supplies (its pretty short).
        The same is true for the statements by Mark Lombard. Listen carefully to what he says and don’t simply accept the narrative Donna is pushing because Lombard is assuring his audience that a solution is very close and that EPRI is working very hard on this…an effort Donna implies is NOT taking place.

        “…that’s because Edison’s requirements were so low.”

        That is just another in a long line of false statements by you and your cohorts. Do I need to go through the long list of false claims and statements by you and your group or found on your biased website?
        Remember, the canisters SCE chose are licensed by the NRC and meet THEIR requirements, those you and your handful prefer do not. Are your followers aware of this? Do your followers know that the cask design YOU prefer was refused a license for transportation when an application was made some years ago? Could that cask design pass such an application today? Maybe, but when superior canisters that can utilize the current crane system and that ARE approved by the NRC for both storage and transport are more readily available, have a great amount of use and experience in this country, why, simply to placate a handful of zealots, would a company make such a foolish decision?

        And why, considering all the false statements you folks have made, should the public believe anything you say? You claim the NRC is wrong and can’t be trusted, EPRI representative, David Victor, can’t be trusted (though you often point to EPRI documents), you disagree with the Union of Concerned Scientist’s, David Lochbaum, on high burn up fuel, claim the entire US nuclear industry can’t be trusted, and your views appear to be consistent with the greater anti-nulcear movement who are part of the problem we now face?

        “There are thick metal casks approved by the NRC such as the Areva TN-32.”

        The last I checked, the Areva TN-32 wasn’t designed for either the burn up or enrichment that SONGs fuel has and thus, couldn’t be used.

        ““The vendors informed the committee that cost is the chief consideration for their customers when making purchasing decisions.”

        This is another dishonest quote for it goes without saying that the canister MUST meet NRC approval to get a license, otherwise, a cardboard box would be used as it is certainly cheaper than stainless steel or cast iron.

        Why don’t you just state it plainly, that according to you, the NRC licenses canisters that are unsafe for use and that the public would be better served if they took your advice, the advice of a layman with no particular expertise on the issue? Everybody is wrong but you.

        “He ignored documented facts…”

        Horse manure, we’ve seen your “documented facts” and they don’t hold up to scrutiny .

        “…ignores technical documents I have provided him numerous times.”

        Please name any document I’ve ignored. It is true that it is difficult to keep up with every exaggeration, false statement, or attempt to deceive the public, so given enough time, if I’ve missed any, I’ll report on it.

        I’ve worked at San Onofre for 31 years as a reactor operator but I respond as a private citizen and have neither the permission nor blessing of SCE to post here. Furthermore, I have no issues personally with Donna as she has always been friendly with me, only issues with how she and her followers are attempting to deceive the public in regards to San Onofre.

  • Your belief that nuke waste canisters are explosive demonstrates that you suffer the Hiroshima Syndrome. see…

    • I have many sources. Here are just a few. Your Hiroshima site reference is a bunch of unsubstantiated opinions.

      1. Damaged Spent Nuclear Fuel at U.S. DOE Facilities, Experience and Lessons Learned, by INL, Nov 2005 INL/EXT-05-00760, Page 4& 5

      “The generation of high surface area uranium metal SNF fragments and uranium hydride necessitates additional measures during SNF drying, dry storage, and transportation because of the pyrophoric nature of these materials when exposed to air. As a result, degraded uranium metal fuels are stored and transported in inerted canisters after removal from the basin and drying. Radiolysis of water within the SNF-water corrosion products must also be addressed for long-term storage because of the ability of the resultant gases to overpressurize containers, embrittle welds on containers, and reach flammable concentrations.”

      2. Dana A. Powers, ACRS Chairman, ACRS Recommendations for Improvements to the NRC Staff’s “Technical Study of Spent Fuel Pool Accident Risk at Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants,” April 13, 2000, (ML003704532), p. 3

      “Many metal hydrides are spontaneously combustible in air. Spontaneous combustion of zirconium-hydrides would render moot the issue of “ignition” temperature that is the focus of the [NRC] staff analysis of air interactions with exposed cladding. ”


      “Even 5% oxygen in helium, can cause zirconium powder to ignite. Any mechanical or chemical process that reduces the [zirconium] cladding to turnings, chips, granules, or powders can generate a pyrophoricity or flammability hazard.”

    • @ Leslie Corrice is the GO-TO website for information about what has occurred and what is happening at Fukushima with links to the Japanese English language newspapers on the progress there. I especially appreciate the expert commentary provided on those news articles as well as comments on some of the misinformation coming from those who wish to take advantage of the situation for their own benefit.

      The side panel has the answers to the subjects the vast majority are interested in including tritium, cesium, strontium 90, the situation with “the refugees”, info on the Spent Fuel Pools, the fiction of the incidence of childhood cancer in Japan,and the myth of the “no safe level of radiation, etc.

      As one who has worked in the nuclear field almost my entire adult life, I recognize the value of the factual information provided at Those who visit will too.

      • David,
        That is a propaganda web site, with news and other articles with their own spin.
        It is not a site with scientifically verifiable information.

        Have you met anyone from Fukushima or surrounding areas? Have you been told that children wake up with nosebleeds and have reduced immune systems? Or talked to any of the people who lost their businesses and homes, never to be able to return? Or that radiation from Fukushima has been found on the rooftops of Toyko buildings? Are you still ignoring the well respected 2007 German KiKK study that found children under age five living near nuclear power plants had over twice the normal rate of leukemia?

        • THANK YOU! Never give up the cause. I worked 18 years at S.O.N.G.S. and know very well how many times we had ‘near misses’ and the toxic political environment that posed a disaster risk that was similar to what caused the tragedy at Chernobyl. So many people working at SONGS said the same thing. They didn’t want it in their back yard. They just wanted to retire & see it shut down, or consider moving if it’s not.

          • @ Fran

            I’m throwing the BS flag on your claims regarding SONGs. Employees bitch and moan about a whole host of issues (especially including me) particularly over the intense scrutiny we undergo and the climate of stress in always having to perform perfectly. But in 31 years at the plant, I never heard a single individual say that he or she thought the plant was unsafe or posed a disaster risk similar to what caused Chernobyl…your statement is complete and utter BS as is your last two sentences. I find it hard to believe you ever worked at SONGs.

  • @ Donna

    No Donna, YOUR site defines the phrase “propaganda site” and it exists solely and only to push a one-sided agenda and does a disservice to the honest citizen who may lack the back ground to see through your duplicity.

    Your German KiKK study again? Remember Mindaugas Gedaudas’ response to your so-called “well respected” KiKK study? Here it is:

    And, those who have read the KiKK report and taken as gospel its extrapolations and statistical probabilities, should know that the incidence of cancer farther than 5 kilometers from nuclear power plants is higher than within that 5-km zone, and should consider the fact that cancer (leukemia) incidence in locations within 5-km of a proposed, not built, nuclear power plant is the same as within 5-km of an operating plant. See, for example, this report: . Ms. Gilmore would get a whole lot more traction with her concerns about radiation if she studied what is happening at and around coal-fired plants, where tons of radioactive materials are being spewed into the environment every year. Just for fun, Ms. Gilmore ought to read:

    Here is a quote from the review of that study:

    “The study is thus not suited to the task of establishing a correlation with exposure to radiation from nuclear power plants. All of the radioecological and risk-based circumstances reviewed by the SSK indicate that exposure to ionising radiation caused by nuclear power plants cannot explain the result found by the KiKK Study. The additional radiation exposure caused by nuclear power plants is lower, by a factor of considerably more than 1,000, than the radiation exposure that could cause the risks reported by the KiKK Study.
    • The natural radiation exposure within the study area, and its fluctuations, are both greater, by several orders of magnitude, than the additional radiation exposure caused by the relevant nuclear power plants. If one assumes that the low radiation exposures caused by the nuclear power plants are responsible for the increased leukaemia risk for children, then, in light of current knowledge, one must calculate that leukaemias due to natural radiation exposure would be more common, by several orders of magnitude, than they are actually observed to be in Germany and elsewhere.”

    As I pointed out to your fellow siren of nuclear doom, Roger “truck bomb” Johnson, the max federal limit of exposure to the general public from a commercial nuclear plant is 100 mrem per year and that the true dose from San Onofre in the year Roger chose, was less than 1 mrem. That is an infinitesimal dose that cannot under any circumstances result in the kinds of claims made in the KiKK study. If so, then flying in a commercial aircraft would become illegal because in a 2 hour flight, you would double the dose San Onofre emitted in an entire year! The claims made are NOT credible.

  • There are a couple of problems with your comment:
    1. The discussion was about canisters but you went on (and on and on) about children, losing homes and business, etc.
    2. There have been thousands of children under age 5 raised in San Clemente. What are the leukemia rates of these children? What are they? Please don’t side an catch-all German study unless it has the specific answer to this question. San Clemente is not a hypothetical place; it is real.
    3. The post doesn’t sight any facts but goes on-and-on about Fukushima. We all know what happened there. How do canisters cracking relate to an explosion because of massive thermal buildup? How does a non-operational plant relate to an operational plant? What does the accident of Fukushima have in common San Onofre other than radio active material. This is, how can San Onofre be like Fukushima…I just don’t see an explanation.
    4. After at least 100 years I thought the “but our children” argument would finally end. It hasn’t, I’ve seen it made twice in this post.
    5. You reference your own site as proof of your points. This does not make a good argument.

    Your letter has a bit melodramatic prose but it also listed data and figures. It was interesting. David Davison’s (real name?) post also lists data and figures. This is helpful and interesting. (We can’t verify David’s credentials of working in the Nuclear industry etc but it would be nice to be able to do so.)

    This post has made a huge skeptic out-of-me. Please list real facts and figures with cross references if you want your arguments to stick; otherwise future posts will appear to be a bit fanatical.

    [Correcting Onofre spelling error due to by editor. Sorry]

  • @ Donna

    Your statement: “A 2015 Sandia National Laboratories report states once started, cracks can penetrate the canister wall in less than five years. San Onofre canister loading began in 2003.”

    Can you point me to where in this report it says that because thus far, I haven’t found it.

    (For the interested reader, STAD stands for Standardized Transportation, Aging and Disposal and refers to canisters.)

    I found this in the report: “The design lifetime of the STAD canister shall be 150 years from the time the canister is loaded with SNF to the time the canister is loaded into a waste package, that could potentially include multiple dry storage and transportation cycles.”

    And this: “Rationale: Selection of a 150-year service life for STAD canisters (as defined above) is tied to assumptions used in previous work, regulatory considerations, and documented descriptions of alternative disposal concepts.”

    And this: “A previous study that evaluated technical feasibility of direct disposal of SNF in dual- purpose canisters (DPCs), adopted an assumption that the combined durations of surface storage and repository operation would not be evaluated beyond 150 years to limit any additional assumptions about long-term stability of institutions responsible for waste management (Hardin and Howard, 2013).”

    And this: “The 150-year service lifetime provides ample time for STAD canisters to cool before packaging and emplacement in a repository.”

    I hope you’re not basing your conclusion on figure E-5; see the statement in the paragraph just prior to the summary: “A summary of crack growth rate EXPERIMENTAL data, collected for stainless steels exposed to deliquescent sea salts at a range of temperatures, is shown in Figure E-5.”

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