Letter: Instantaneous Destruction From SONGS

by MissionViejoDispatch.com on November 16, 2012

Mission Viejo and other Southern California cities can rebuild after a major quake, fire, flood, even war. We can NOT rebuild in radioactive zones when land values and all land improvements caught in those zones are reduced to ZERO. For homeowners this amounts to personal financial ruin. For neighborhoods, cities, and counties it means irreversible and instantaneous destruction of wealth.

We need to steer public discourse away from the futile pursuit of predicting the probability of a major quake, and refocus the public on the question: “Should Edison be allowed to gamble with regional economic ruin caused by a nuclear disaster at San Onofre?” Seismic studies at San Onofre become a moot issue.

Fukushima serves as the full scale “crash test” of a U.S. designed nuclear power plant, and the aftermath is ugly. In essence TEPCO Daiichi nuclear facility converted a productive and proud region in NE Japan into a region of unsuspecting and tragic crash test victims, destroyed a nation’s economy, bankrupted the 4th largest power utility in the world, and plunged millions of men, women, and children into uncertain health.

The public only hears the industry’s gross under-estimations and misinformation about nuclear disaster impacts. Roger Herried and Torgen Johnson have worked on some economic impact figures around San Onfore and the numbers are staggering, in the tens of billions of dollars per city. These figures should open even the most closed minds.

It is time to close the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS). Studies have proven we do not need the power. For more details on power availability see SanOnofreSafety.

Joe Holtzman


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick Locarno November 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm

This SanOnofreSafety site is more than a bit biased. It says that SONGS has the highest number of worker/contractor reported safety issues of any nuclear power station, but does not say what these issues are. Numbers without context are meaningless.

It speaks of meltdown, even though a full meltdown has never occurred in a modern American plant. In all, 8 people have died in accidents at Nuclear plants in the US, and none of these deaths have had anything to do with the nuclear reactors themselves. Our primary energy source is still the burning of coal, and how many people had the coal mining industry killed in 2010 alone? 48. Coal kills six times more people per year than Nuclear ever has.

Instead of caving to fear mongering, we need to embrace new forms of energy. Wind, Solar, and Nuclear need to replace the dangerous coal and oil industries, which cause more death and pollution in a single year than nuclear has caused since the first US plant was opened.

Joe Holtzman November 18, 2012 at 7:44 am

Nuclear is not clean or safe. The reality is that the nuclear waste leaves radiated materials that have a half life of 10,000 years. The mining, and processing of uranaium is significantly higher in carbon footprint than coal, or gas. this has been verified by The Union of Concerned Scientists.

As to the data cited each and everyone of the documents came from the NRC.

Donna Gilmore November 18, 2012 at 9:15 am

Nick needs to read a little further on the website. It goes into more details in the Safety Allegations section.

For example, the NRC issued a Chilling Effects letter to Edison because of the alarming number of safety complaints and employee fears of retailiation for reporting safety problems. It is very rare for one of these letters to be issued. You can read the letter on the website. You can also hear first-hand from whistleblowers about the problems at San Onofre.

I became involved in this issue when I read in the OC Register that San Onofre employees were being retaliated against for reporting safety problems to the NRC. (Reporting safety problems to the NRC is a last resort for employees. Normally, safety problems should be resolved within San Onofre’s management.)

Retaliating against employees for reporting safety problems at a nuclear plant sounded unbelievable to me, so I researched it further and also spoke directly with whistleblowers. The NRC does not share the details of allegations until they complete their investigations, which can take years. One whistleblower reported a defective electrical system at the plant. It’s been 10 years and he still does not know if the problem has been fixed. However, he had to take an early retirement because they allegedly retaliated against him for reporting it. This is a typical story from whistleblowers at San Onofre.

All the information on the website is based on NRC or other government or scientific data.

Employees warned that tests were skipped when they installed the new steam generators. These generators are critical for keeping the reactors from melting down. One of the generators leaked radiation after being installed less than one year. All four generators (two in each reactor) are showing decades of premature wear after being installed less than two years.

San Onofre has been off-line since January. Edison promised these generators would last at least 40 years. Now Edison wants to restart one of reactors without fixing the defective steam generators. These generators cost ratepayers almost $700 million dollars.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has opened an investigation (called an OII) on the cost and reliability issues at San Onofre. They have the authority to say it’s not worth the cost and it’s not reliable. However, the president of the CPUC is a former president of Southern California Edison.

On November 30th, the NRC plans a local public meeting where Edison will discuss their restart plan. Location for the meeting has not been determined. If you subscribe to the mailing list on the SanOnofreSafety.org website, you will receive an email when the details are made available.

It’s important to have a large turnout for the NRC meeting to put pressure on the NRC to not approve restart of a defective nuclear reactor. Unfortunately, the NRC has a history of protecting the nuclear industry over the safety of the public.

We don’t need the energy from San Onofre. There are other options.

Why should we live with the risk of a nuclear disaster for energy we don’t need? Edison makes millions every day the reactors are running, while we live with the risks.

F. Stephen Masek November 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Risk is never a moot point, as time and money are not free. A car wreck can be deadly, yet we all drive, and the probability of any one of us suffering any kind of injury or economic harm is far, far greater from driving than from SONGS. While SONGS presents a low risk, getting rid of it is certainly a high cost. Edison may well have no other choice, unless they sould be successful with a claim against the maker of the steam generators, a doubtful outome, given what we read of Edison’s active involvement in the design.

Tom Kosco November 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Amen to Mr. Locarno. Next, we’ll probably hear about the flooding risks facing folks who live on Lake Mission Viejo because of the tsunami that would likely occur if an earthquake hit right under the lake. I worry about that a lot.

If Joe really wants to be shaken into worrying, go to Space.com and view the video on what would happen to us all if a big meteor hit our planet. And remember, the probability of that happening increases with each year that passes. Whew!!

Allan Pilger November 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

With diligent people like Joe Holtzman watching my back, I am only a casual observer on the safety of San Onofre. But the documentation on multiple hazards like nuclear waste, not to mention seismic catastrophe is compelling. Arguments like the world eventually will be hit by a large meteor so “why worry?” shows the shallowness of the pro-Onofre propaganda.

We went through a long, hot summer here in South Orange County with the nuclear plant shut down, but no blackouts. Keep
the plant closed, and remove the stored nuclear waste.

F. Stephen Masek November 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Removing the stored waste is the most unlikely outcome of any, as there is no storage facility, unless the Nevada people stop opposing the proposed waste site.

Allan Pilger November 28, 2012 at 9:35 am

Stephen hasn’t spelled out his credentials, but if what he says is accurate–that there is no safe bunker or control site to receive nuclear waste–that would be yet another reason to stop producing it for energy.

Carl Pham December 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Why not freak out about a meteor strike or the Second Coming while you’re at it, silly? This would all be amusing except for the fact that the city, the region, the nation, and I daresay each of us personally has far more pressing issues to solve than whether the nuclear disaster feared by the no nukes weenies for the past 75 years and counting FINALLY comes to pass.

Here’s a little mental exercise:

(1) How many people have been ACTUALLY KILLED by a radiation release after even the largest earthquake, natural disaster, et cetera, in Western Europe or the United States, over the past 60+ years during which massive amounts of electricity has been generated from nuclear power? Answer: zero.

(2) How many people have been severely injured, had an indentifiable case of radiation sickness, et cetera? Answer: zero.

(3) How many cities or towns have had a significant, undeniable increase in rates of cancer or birth defects? Answer: zero.

Now, of course it could just be that with 200+ nuclear reactors all around the Western World, operating around the clock for 50 years, dozens of major earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes, high tides, terrorist attacks, et cetera and so forth — we have just been unbelievably unlucky, and the whole system really is as dangerous as some say, and any minute now we might all wake up sterile with our homes radioactive rubble. It could just be the world’s biggest coincidence that nothing bad has happened yet.

Or it could be nuclear engineers actually know what they’re doing, math and science actually work, that when the people who can look forward to a quick lynching if they’re wrong say the beasts are very safe, they’re actually right — and the amateurs who failed 7th grade algebra, half of whom probably also think the CIA is sending mind-control waves through their TVs, are full of you know what and should be ignored.

Can we just get back to the 21st century, please? I like my technology, because it lets me live in comfort. I don’t want to live like a peasant in 14th century Germany, or even like my grandparents in 1940s America. Sure, technology has some risks. So does crossing the street. I’m cool with that. Anyone who isn’t — can I just suggest you move to Idaho, far away from the rest of us, and from nuclear power plants or whatever makes you poo your panties, and live in a log cabin all by yourself?

Joe Holtzman December 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm

If the Nuclear Engineers were so smart why were their models off by a factor of three hundred percent on the redesigned generators.

If the Nuclear Engineers were so smart why have the French provided studies that show a significant increase in childhood cancer in the vicinity of their nuclear plants.

Want to get into this century? Install solar. I have and it works great. Remember –a solar spill is just known as a great day!

Byron Barbour December 12, 2012 at 9:11 am

I helped build Songs and worked for the company that designed and built it. I attended a luncheon last week and here’s what I got from a few old friends. SCE wanted to kick up the power from 1100 to 1350 mgw so the new steam generators has a lot more tubes installed in the same external size steam generator. Apparently there was a flaw in the design model and now when you apply the steam to them you have a serious vibration problem but only at full power. There’s no way to get inside the Generators to fix this problem. Can it be repaired, sure. Replace the steam Generators again at a cost of Billions of dollars. You could also run at 50% to 60% but I’m sure that’s not cost effective for SCE. SCE is supposedly cutting back large numbers of people at the plant at the end of the year.

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