SCSQUARED half Gary Headrick, San Clemente

This issue will be better understood once you’ve had a chance to watch what may be regarded as one of the most significant movies of 2015, The Big Short. The film explains just how the housing crash of 2008 came about, leaving the masses holding the bag while those responsible ran off with our homes and hard-earned savings, never to be held accountable.

Basically, Wall Street bankers gambled with our livelihoods while regulators looked the other way, denying any possibility of a “bubble.” They knew all along that eventually the government (you and me) would have to bail them out once the truth was no longer avoidable. The same kind of scenario is unfolding in the nuclear industry today, specifically at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Our “bubble” consists of tons of radioactive materials being stored in containers that are known to be susceptible to cracking, possibly within just a few short years from now. Hard evidence of dirty little secrets and unscrupulous activities has been uncovered by those who are really paying attention, while countless innocent and unwary people stand in harm’s way.

Like Wall Street, Edison and its cronies seem anxious to stick us with the risk while they reap the profits. They intend to bury 89 times more radiation than was released in the Chernobyl accident, and will do so in sandstone bluffs 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean and only inches above the water table, using inferior stainless steel tanks only a half-inch thick, surrounded by concrete. Apparently, the industry’s objective is to meet the minimum standards (already lowered by its captured regulators) and get all the waste into dry cask storage before any radiation begins to escape these cheaper thin canisters. (Other countries use containers 10 to 20 inches thick.) At that point, the waste becomes the taxpayers’ problem. Should there be a leak, it would be too late to move the highly radioactive waste, and 8.5 million people living within 50 miles could be left stranded and exposed.

Those who saw the inevitable defaults coming in 2008 invested wisely by betting against the banks, but we can’t afford to win a bet resulting in all of us becoming irradiated. Instead, we need to invest in the best storage system possible with many layers of redundant safety features, adequate emergency handling capabilities and a realistic plan to relocate this menacing waste ASAP. The appalling truth is that these already-approved plans have been made by people who are either currently under investigation or should be (see www.sanonofresafety.org).

Let’s make 2016 the year we stop a plan that would shift liability from a reckless nuclear power industry to the public, leaving us with the consequences. We must stand together and call for responsible steps to be taken to protect ourselves and our precious planet. We can’t let the insidious desires of selfish and unrepentant fools, like those who propped up the lies of Wall Street, pop this bubble. It’s not just financial; it’s radioactive!

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comments (4)

  • Shortly after writing this letter I learned of yet another concern. Letters of negotiation just acquired Monday through the freedom of information act, between Edison and the Department of the Navy (DON) indicate that the site has radioactive contamination presently, perhaps even at the beach. The DON is requiring clean up before possibly taking the land back in 2023. The DON also refused to sign a letter of non-disclosure sought by Edison. Tuesday night we asked the city council to get some independent verification of where the radiation is so the public can be aware of the dangers. Send them a letter if you agree, and send an email to gary @sanclementegreen.org if you’d like to recieve updates on this crucial matter. Together we can make a difference.
    Here is a link to the complete updated story with links to validate these concerns – http://conta.cc/1OxfCFh

  • “This issue will be better understood once you’ve had a chance to watch…”

    No, this issue will be better understood in light of all the lies, false statements, and obfuscation by fanatical anti-nukes like yourself.

    The local anti-nuke zealots lied about San Onofre’s emergency batteries claiming they were disconnected for 4 years (could you drive your car with the battery disconnected…for 4 years!?). Anti-nuke and former CEP member, Gene Stone, made statements at the first CEP claiming TMIs canisters were leaking and that 2000 MWs of solar generation, apart from roof top solar, had replaced San Onofre’s generation just since the shutdown. Both statements are utterly FALSE. Or, Roger Johnson’s malarkey regarding the physics defying truck bomb that he claims could take out a Spent Fuel Pool from OUTSIDE the PERIMETER! Or his jaw dropping statement at the first CEP about how North Korea has nuclear missiles aimed…AT SAN ONOFRE! Or his false statements regarding the secrecy of effluent releases even though they are a matter of record any citizen can look up on his or her computer.

    How about statements on the website you keep hawking of the individual claiming PWRs don’t have reactor vessel level indication; or the farcical TMI video of the guy claiming all sorts of wild mutations from the accident including one of a cow being born with his skeleton on the outside of his torso, so ridiculous that you (collectively) eventually took it off your web site. Or your personal bogus statements to news gal, Vikki Vargas, that San Onofre planned to rotate fuel in and out of canisters and that moving used nuclear fuel was dangerous despite the fact that it has been moved at least a million times in the US alone (this is not an exaggeration). Or how about anti-nuke, Ace Hoffman’s, WHOPPER he told to the Malibu Times:

    “But there are literally a thousand ways to melt down a reactor. A pipe could break; an operator could flip the wrong switch. (Yes, it’s that easy, or nearly so, and there’s nothing to stop him or her from melting the reactor down on purpose, for that matter.)”

    Needless to say, Ace didn’t enlighten his readers as to what this magical switch might be.

    Gary, are you still standing by your foolish claim that SONGs’ tube leak almost resulted in an accident worse than Fukushima? Will you ever indulge your readers on how San Onofre’s tube leak “could have easily escalated into a full-blown emergency, far worse than what Japan continues to endure today”? Do you feel any shame regarding these lies and false statements the anti-nukes you used to lead have made and continue to make, including your own false statements?

    Will anyone from your camp explain, as described in your video “Safety Over Profits”, how oxygen getting into a canister could cause an explosion? Will anyone of you venture to describe for me or your readers the mechanism of this explosion? The claim is made that this explosion would be on the scale of Fukushima, really? From just one canister?”

    Why is it that most every postulated problem your anti-nuke zealots bring up, result in an accident “worse than Fukushima?” Are you that addicted to hyperbole? Does your narrative require post apocalyptic scenarios to frighten the public into endorsing your hysteria?

    Why is it that you continue to lie to the public regarding the canisters, claiming they are inferior?
    What is your evidence that the regulators are “captured” by the industry? Is it simply because they also refute your bogus claims, as does independent investigator and chairman of the CEP, David Victor?

    Conveniently, you neglect to inform your readers that the cast iron casks used in Europe are NOT licensed for either storage or shipment in the U.S., that they were refused a license to transport in the U.S. when it was requested because it was feared they might shatter if dropped, that the company that produces them has ZERO presence in America, the casks are too heavy for San Onofre to use, and that these casks are thicker because they are designed for reuse when the fuel is removed to reprocess, a program President Carter unwisely outlawed in this country. Yours is the standard anti-nuke obfuscation on the topic, divulging only what supports your bankrupt narrative.

    As to shifting responsibility, your narrative is again, just another lie in a long train of false statements. SCE will retain responsibility until fuel is shipped out to a permanent storage facility unless another, non-governmental entity takes possession whereupon THEY become responsible.

    Have you seen Pandora’s Promise, the pro-nulcear documentary produced by FORMER anti-nukes who discarded the false narrative they once championed?

    Gary, let’s make 2016 the year you and your anti-nuke pals start telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth because so far, that has been a tall order for you zealots.

  • David,

    We face the real possibility of San Onofre canisters leaking in as little in 7 years (for those loaded as early as 2003) and Edison is not addressing this real problem. You need to look no further than the home page of SanOnofreSafety.org for documentation of this. Also, have you watched these videos and read the report below? This is just some of the evidence we have. If you have evidence to the contrary, please post links and quotes from scientific or government sources.

    Watch the Holtec canister manufacturer’s president, Dr. Singh, state: even of the canisters could be inspected for cracks and repaired, in the face of millions of curies of radiation being released, they cannot be repaired without introducing another condition for cracking. http://youtu.be/euaFZt0YPi4

    Watch NRC Director of Spent Fuel Management Division, Mark Lombard, state inspecting the canisters “is not a now thing.” https://youtu.be/QtFs9u5Z2CA

    Read Dept of Energy document stating:
    The generation of high surface area uranium metal SNF [spent nuclear fuel] 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. https://inldigitallibrary.inl.gov/sti/3396549.pdf

    More new links and data on http://sanonofresafety.org/nuclear-waste/

    Donna

  • @ Donna,

    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. http://youtu.be/ZpT_fHNnfc0

    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.”

    2016 should be a year of truth telling, but past experience from the false claims and bogus statements by anti-nuclear zealots does not give us much confidence.

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