David Davison, San Clemente
In response to Gary Headrick’s fear mongering editorial (“Letter to the Editor: SONGS Dangers are Real, Not Just Rhetoric” Jan. 23), describing the spent fuel pools as “vulnerable” is nonsense unsupported by no body of analysis. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has recently stated “previous evaluations of spent fuel pool structures have determined that seismic margins are very large” and goes on to say that because of the low decay heat level after only a few months (the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been down 24 months), even beyond design basis, accidents proceed slowly enough that mitigation actions could be completed successfully. Indeed, with no operator action and no electrical power, SONGS fuel would pose no danger to the public for more than six weeks. You could build and carry pumping equipment in a Sopwith Camel from Outer Mongolia in less time.
Headrick’s suggestion that there is some sort of cabal between the NRC and the nuclear industry is again, bunk. Although the NRC has stated there is no benefit from a safety standpoint of moving fuel to dry cask storage, Headrick’s efforts are wasted because that is precisely what SONGS intends to do. The faster they can move the fuel to dry cask storage, the faster they can lay off the rest of the workers, leaving behind a small security force. Thus, Edison and the Headrick interveners are, on this issue, on the same page.
Therefore, those who desire to expedite the transfer of spent fuel out of Orange County should petition the government, for it is purely a political decision, one that the Obama administration fumbled. However, regardless of whether the fuel remains here in pools, dry cask storage, or transferred elsewhere, the spent fuel is safe.