Many noticed that Edison’s language to trivialize the dangers of San Onofre, “accidents are extremely unlikely,” is exactly the same as that used by the oil company whose broken pipe is now polluting the beaches in Santa Barbara. At least Edison is now admitting that San Onofre was a danger when it was operating, something they never admitted before. But any public relations attempt to portray San Onofre as safe is pure deception.
Edison has now successfully petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to excuse itself from area-wide safety and emergency planning. No more radiation monitoring in town so we are now unlikely to know of any radiation dangers. In every past nuclear emergency, authorities have either concealed or lied about radiation dangers. The same will happen here.
There remain many possibilities of emergencies for which San Onofre has no defense: earthquakes, tsunamis, or 9/11-type terrorist attacks. There is also the huge danger of human error and equipment failure. The thin canisters designed for short-term storage will now be used for long-term storage because we are now a nuclear waste dump for the indefinite future. Edison does not want to use the stronger (and more expensive) canisters and instead chose the ones known to fail. Failure cannot be detected until they already leak, and once emitting radiation they cannot be repaired.
Does anyone feel comforted by Edison’s smug claim that accidents are “extremely unlikely?” We are only several miles from a nuclear waste dump containing thousands of tons of surface-level highly radioactive waste. We are now home to the radioactive equivalent of more than 20,000 Hiroshima bombs. No, it will not explode, but what it can do is spread a deadly radioactive plume which could permanently contaminate thousands of square miles. Edison is indemnified for the hundreds of billions that such a catastrophe would cost taxpayers.
So are insurance companies. All homes and businesses would be a total loss since no policy covers radiation contamination. And think of the health hazards, especially to women and children, who are much more vulnerable to radiation.
Meanwhile, our local, county and state governments are doing nothing to get the waste removed to a safer more remote temporary location. Instead, they await the pipedream that the federal government might someday create a permanent repository. Our waste dump is squarely in the middle of Darrell Issa’s District 49, yet he does nothing. It is puzzling why so many people don’t know or don’t care about what is by far the biggest threat to the future of southern California.