By Eric Heinz
The incident that took place Aug. 3 at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) with a canister that was almost dropped prompted the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to conduct a special investigation at the nuclear power plant.
What had Councilmember Steve Swartz concerned was that it wasn’t reported directly to cities in the immediate radiation evacuation zones nor was it brought up during the latest Community Engagement Panel Meeting (CEP) until a whistleblower told the panel what had happened on Aug. 9, said Swartz, who is the city’s liaison to the CEP, which is a quarterly panel that provides information on SONGS; it is not a policy-making body.
“It’s the lack of notification and response to the incident, and that we haven’t given consent to the fact that we’re hosting…a nuclear storage site and that we want to see some compensation in preparation coming to the city to assist us with potential disasters, and this ties into the demand for there to be 24-7 monitoring that’s available for the public to view,” Swartz said.
The NRC is scheduled to start its inspection on Sept. 10 and a report will be out weeks later following the visit. Councilmember Lori Donchak suggested sending two people from the City Council to join the NRC in their visit.
Swartz said above all, the city needs to know what kind of dangers it could face should an incident damage a canister.