PR Log - Nov 30, 2012 - Southern Californians could be poised for a Fukushima-like nuclear disaster in their own back yard. A major decision will take place this Friday at a public meeting in Laguna Hills (6-9PM). At this meeting, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Region IV will determine whether to grant the giant utility, Southern California Edison, a Christmas gift: the green light to restart defective San Onofre Reactor #2.
Many nuclear experts have confirmed dangers posed by the defective steam generator of Reactor #2. According to AREVA, a nuclear plant designer, “San Onofre’s Reactor #2 has major design flaws that were uncovered during routine maintenance refueling, with radioactive leakage from the twin unit.” That radioactive leakage was released into San Clemente air, and downwind communities.
Professor Emeritus Roger Johnson of Amherst says, “This is of grave risk to the public health and safety and requires immediate attention. Children in our community are the most susceptible to dangers from radiation released into the air.”
To restart this reactor in its current configuration threatens public safety for all Southern Californians, according to the DABS Safety Team, a battery of experts from the San Onofre power plant and industry. The tubing has degraded due to initial design flaws, fueling risk of a potential disaster.
The financial toll associated with the reactor is hefty, including $700 million cost for the defective steam generator, plus a $54 million monthly bill to all utility customers for the mothballed plant. But health and safety considerations are paramount, and the risk of fire sparks special alarm. Former nuclear industry executive, Arne Gundersen, says any fire at a nuclear plant is dangerous, stating “Fires and nuclear power plants don’t belong in the same sentence”.
Most troublesome is that San Onofre nuclear generating station has the worst nuclear safety and maintenance record among all 104 operating nuclear power plants in the US. The Fire Marshall issued over 250 safety violations in the last three years. “There is a complete loss of public trust and confidence in the ability of the present management to resolve equipment failures, worker retaliation, and nuclear safety issues, “ says Don Leichtling, the safety team leader of the Battery of Concerned Nuclear Experts. Don says, “We need complete transparency for the safety and health of our own community, and for those downwind.”
Public concern about the reactor has led a large coalition of Southern Californians to place a full page advertisement in local newspapers (funded through Samuel Lawrence Foundation) to educate the public with safety concerns that the federal government’s NRC may overlook. “We find it ludicrous [for this] to happen here in United States, which lectures the entire world about health and safety,” says Cathy Inowe, herself a refugee from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident, now living in San Diego with her family. ”This is like throwing fuel into the fire,” she said.
Tomorrow’s public meeting will be held at The Hills Hotel, Laguna Hills.