Gary Headrick, San Clemente

Nuclear waste is an enormous issue facing our nation as the nuclear industry looks for a quick exit strategy. Our little “Spanish Village by the Sea” is about to get stuck with over 3 million pounds of it right at the ocean’s edge, yet it doesn’t even make our mayor’s list of issues for 2018. Communities like ours are being told what they want to hear, but not the truth about how long we will be in harm’s way.

The reality is that much of this highly radioactive waste will remain too hot to be moved away from San Onofre for several decades. Meanwhile, Southern California Edison has opted for the most “commercially reasonable” solution, which will absolve them of huge liabilities, but leaves us with temporary storage containers that are not designed to last for as long as they need to be here. Each of the 124 thin steel canisters contains more radiation than was released in the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Deregulation and the influence that the nuclear industry wields over policymakers and regulators have left the unsuspecting public unprotected. That means ordinary citizens must band together to insist on far better long-term solutions that will protect our health and safety, not to mention our real estate or other investments we have in this area.

Our common goal is to protect what we love from the disastrous effects of exposure to radiation. This is an issue that should unite all of us in an effort to change course immediately before it is too late. Please get involved and stay informed by texting SCGreen to 22828.

One of our immediate goals is to get U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris to come to San Clemente to hear our concerns and visit the San Onofre nuclear waste site in person to see for herself the precarious plan that Edison is about to execute. We will be distributing pre-addressed postcards on which people can write their own personal message to the senator. You can send her a letter at or call her LA Office at 213.894.5000 or D.C. office at 202.224.3553.

On a final note, I’d also like to express my appreciation for the City staff that accommodated our impromptu “Don’t Nuke Our Coast” rally on Dec. 30, and to those who attended this event we co-sponsored with the youthful Team Zissou Environmental Organization led by Jackson Hinkle. This was just the first wave in the swell of opposition we have planned.

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comments (2)

  • There are already 51 canisters loaded — loading started in 2003. Edison, the NRC, Coastal Commission, Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and Governor’s Office know these canisters are vulnerable to premature cracking. However, they are all ignoring the problem.

    They are putting us at risk of permanent evacuation in Southern California. from uncontrolled lethal nuclear radiation releases into the environment. This will destroy our security, our homes, businesses, economy and our international commerce and food supply. It will jeopardize the health of our families and friends, including future generations (due to DNA damage). Why is Southern California Edison — who even the NRC cited for mismanagement of the steam generator replacement project — being allowed to do this? Edison has no plan for leaking canisters. Instead, the NRC just allowed them an exemption to reduce their on-site financial insurance obligation from over a billion dollars to $50 million, assuming nothing will go wrong.

    What can you do? Share this handout with elected officials at local, state and the federal level and with others.

    Also, tell them that according to the NRC, Edison has the worst safety complaint record in the nation (from their own employees) and the highest rate of retaliation against employees for reporting safety problems.

    Learn more at

  • Anti-nuke liars continue to misinform the public

    Donna is lying, she knows she is lying and I can reach this conclusion because her many false statements have been corrected many times and yet she remains undeterred in her efforts to misinform the public.

    The canisters SCE is using are state of the art, used by the entire US nuclear industry and are used throughout the world. Brazil, Slovenia, the UK, Mexico, Ukraine, Taiwan, Spain, Armenia, and South Africa (who initially used the Castor Casks Donna prefers but has switched to the canister based system SCE will use) all employ the canister based system Donna attempts to frighten the public away from. Korea and Japan are very interested in this system as well. I have repeatedly asked Donna to list all the new orders for the Castor Casks she likes, particularly for countries that do NOT reprocess fuel, her only response has been crickets.

    Her preferred casks are too heavy for SONGs crane equipment, a problem she simply ignores. When a license to ship fuel in her preferred casks was applied for, the NRC refused the application fearing her cast iron casks would shatter if dropped in cold weather.

    So, her casks don’t have NRC approval for either storage or shipment, are too heavy, are susceptible to shattering if dropped in cold weather, and the company that manufactures them has zero presence in the United States. In addition, they have bolted heads with mechanical seals vice the double welds the canisters SCE is using and a weld is ALWAYS superior to a mechanical seal if the goal is to seal, which is the case here. Finally, the whole world appears to be moving to the canister based system because the cask based system is only appropriate if one is reprocessing fuel. This is why their heads are bolted because bolted heads facilitate easy fuel retrieval while double welds must be cut.

    Donna’s science fiction scenario is just that, a farcical exercise meant specifically to frighten a public not sufficiently educated on the issue. Reader beware and do your own research.

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