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  • Photo: TheSurfTrend.com http://goo.gl/FltTI

    Photo: TheSurfTrend.com http://goo.gl/FltTI

  • Photo: TheSurfTrend.com http://goo.gl/FltTI

    Photo: TheSurfTrend.com http://goo.gl/FltTI

10 Things to Know
about San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

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10 Things to Know
about San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

An Open Letter to Myself

Dear friends, relatives, neighbors and Facebook lurkers,

Why in the world is my Facebook and Twitter stream bulging with “San Onofre” lately?

San Onofre nuclear power plant, songs

Photo: TheSurfTrend.com http://goo.gl/FltTI

It’s simple, really, but not easy…. For some quick context, here in Southern California, when we say “San Onofre” it means one of two things, depending on the circles you run in: San Onofre State Beach (one of the best surfing beaches in the world), or San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which has nicknames like SONGS or The Twins. There are other–anatomical–terms, too. To be clear, the beach and the power plant are in the same location geographically, but a world apart philosophically. (More on that in a future post.)

I live about 10 miles as the crow flies from the plant and on a clear day can see the domes from the balcony. For years I was vaguely aware of a nuclear power plant down the coast somewhere but, like so many others, was psychologically unwilling to think about the risk it posed to my family, friends and future.

Then came the Fukushima disaster — a wake-up call that obliterated the cozy denial I’d enjoyed for so long.

I promise to post much more here in this blog about my very personal journey with the issue of this nuclear power plant. But for now, since it’s currently 4:30am and I just can’t sleep, let’s keep it simple. Here is a short list of the most uncomfortable things I’ve learned about San Onofre.

  1. Currently over 30 years of highly radioactive waste is stored on site at San Onofre. The plant was engineered and built to store waste for only 5-7 years.
  2.  

  3. There is no plan to remove over 1,400 tons of the highly radioactive waste on site.
  4.  

  5. This plant uses the fuel longer than most plants, which makes the waste more highly radioactive than most.
  6.  

  7. The plant was originally designed and licensed to be shut down in 2013.
  8.  

  9. San Onofre sits within a ring of some of the most active earthquake fault lines on the globe. It was built to withstand a 6.0 quake, and was later somehow retrofitted to about 7.0. Geologists now expect an 8.0+ in nearby faults. A new, underground fault was recently discovered very near the plant.
  10.  

  11. The plant sits in a tsunami zone. The tsunami wall is 14 above high tide. The geological record in the area shows tsunami evidence up to 195 feet above current sea level within the last 900 years.
  12.  

  13. San Onofre has the worst safety record of all nuclear plants in the United States. In 2010, San Onofre had 10 times the national average of safety violations.
  14.  

  15. The steam generator sprung a radioactive leak on Jan. 29, 2012, and the plant has been ordered shut by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  16.  

  17. Only 4 out of 10 emergency workers within the plant responded according to required emergency procedures.
  18.  

  19. Since the leak on Jan. 29, 2012, plant operators have not publicly shared any primary data about the causes of the leak, nor firm plans to address the problems.

So, the simple part for me was concluding that this plant should be shut down once and for all. The not-so-easy part? For that to happen, we all have to overcome a few minor obstacles: public apathy, multi-billion dollar industries, governmental inadequacies, lobbists, fear, and all the irrational political rancor of an election year.

Regardless of the obstacles, I’m personally compelled to give the effort whatever support I can muster. I don’t particularly want to get involved in this issue, but my conscience just won’t let me ignore it any more. That’s why the sub-title to this post is “an open letter to myself”… as much as anything else, this blog post is a message to myself:

Go back to sleep now, Ross.

About Ross Teasley

Technologist, marketer and environmentalist living in Dana Point, CA. Creative Director of Casa Dana Group, Inc.

Comments

  1. CaptD says:

    Good Discussion
    +
    You might consider this:
    THE NPP’s RISK GAME:

    ~ Tornado strike?
    ~ Earthquake?
    ~ Human error?
    ~ Tsunami?
    ~ Power outage?
    ~ Pipe break?
    ~ Test gone wrong?
    ~ Old fuel issues?
    ~ Terrorist attack?
    ~ Hurricane?
    ~ Plane crash?
    ~ Heavy rains/River floods?
    ~ Metal Fatigue?
    ~ Nuclear Ransom?
    ~ Solar Flair?
    ~ EMP?
    ~ Lightning?
    ~ Dam Failure?
    ~ Fire?
    ~ Operator suicide?
    ~ Jihadist?
    ~ CME?
    ~ Carrington Effect?
    ~ Cyber-warfare
    ~ Meteror
    ~ Aliens

    … Just to name a few possibilities how NPP’s can crap out.

  2. CaptD says:

    Wouldn’t be great if we could replace SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) with more Solar (of all flavors) in CA?

    It sure would UNLESS you are the Utility and don’t want to pay others fairly instead of yourself for Energy…

    This is THE KEY ISSUE in California, yet most don’t know anything about it!

    Utilities, Solar Industry Spar Over “Net Metering”
    http://is.gd/B9rSYb

  3. CaptD says:

    ONE MORE, I don’t want to be guilty of a data dump…

    Maybe you can figure out how to “Market” this concept:

    When folks think Real Estate and Location, Location, Location, one of the most important things is: “How close am I and or are we downwind from a potential Nuclear Reactor Meltdown”

    Lets use Southern California as an example:

    What would happen to property values in SoCal if SORE, (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) suffered a meltdown like Fukushima for ANY reason, like an EQ (Earth Quake), terrorism, Tsunami, operator error or just “because it can”?

    Per the NRC: Fact Sheet on Nuclear Insurance and Disaster Relief http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/funds-fs.html

    In short, if there is more than $12 Billion in damages, residents are left holding a empty radioactive bag! This is only a tiny fraction of what it will cost in Fukushima, which is estimated to be about a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster!

    What is the value of all the homes and Commercial property downwind of SORE?
    Probably at least several TRILLION dollars…

    Here is a great graphic that will help everyone visualize what is downwind of any of the US reactors! NRDC Nuclear Fallout Map: http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/fallout/
    Just click on a reactor and zoom in…

    Where will the US Government get the REST of the money if it happened at SORE (or a reactor where you live) next week, probably from Social Security and or Medicare? Where will people relocate to and for how long?

    In reality, ALL those affected are doomed! Tens of thousands are still living in nuclear refugee camps in Japan and it has been over a year since their triple meltdowns which are BTW still sending radioactive pollution Globally!

    On the other hand if SORE is De-Commissioned, then the Property values would climb upward quickly because SoCal would then not have this radioactive RISK hanging over our heads and that could actually jump start our local and State economy.

    This would be a Win-Win-Win situation because So-Cal does not need the electric capacity these two leaker could provide, (which has already been proven because both reactors have been shut down for months by orders from the NRC), De-Commissioning will generate lots of good paying long term Jobs and there will be no more RISK of a meltdown; besides SoCal needs a bigger World Famous Surf Park in San Onofre !

    For more see:
    http://is.gd/wKSjdA
    or
    http://enenews.com/?p=29596

  4. Ross Teasley says:

    hi captd, thanks for the “data dump,” the extra info & the good ideas.

  5. Susan Haroutunian says:

    Thank you Ross! I am a “neighbor” in Laguna Niguel. Thank you for summing up so exactly my feelings and how I came to be passionate about this. My family and I attended the rally last month at San Onofre and hope to work on this til we’ve accomplished as much as we can to shut San Onofre down.

  6. Ross Teasley says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Susan… and for being willing to jump into the issues!

  7. Patti Davis says:

    Excellent Summary Ross!

  8. Gary Headrick says:

    Great start Ross. I’m looking forward to more of your posts. Now get some rest and get ready for whatever it is going to take to keep these reactors down for good!