Timely and Urgent
A dramatic, empowering California story with national and planetary implications.
In early August, 2018 a brave whistleblower revealed serious problems with Southern California Edison’s (SCE) radioactive waste handling at San Onofre’s high level waste dump by the sea. A near miss 18 ft. drop of a 54 ton container of intensely irradiated fuel onto cement below could have caused a major radioactive disaster between San Diego and Los Angeles. In early December, 2018, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released a surprisingly frank report after investigating, listing even more dangerous SCE failures with its equipment that could also cause fatal radioactive releases.
In an ironic coincidence, the Dec. 2018 NRC report about San Onofre came out just after SCE was put under investigation for causing the fatal Nov. 2018 Woolsey fire above Los Angeles. Compounding the sobering tragic pattern, the fire started just yards from the location where SCE caused a partial meltdown in 1959 that released intense radioactivity for many days. Burning radioactively contaminated materials and vegetation can re-contaminate by lofting radioactive particles into the fire’s smoke plume. State officials and site owners immediately claimed there was no release of contamination, though tests hadn’t yet been done. Independent tests are now in the works.
More people need to know about the severe danger looming with SCE at San Onofre, embedded along a lovely seashore within the most dense population center in the U.S. A NOAA animation of the smoke patterns from the recent CA wildfires suggest that a potential fire resulting from cracked canisters could release deadly long-lived radiation along the west coast and eastwards across the entire continent, as apparently happened with the Woolsey fire.
This is the empowering story of how a vigilant and informed public can have an impact, as the outraged members of a southern California community who forced this plant’s shutdown now demand a stop to the current disastrous waste storage plans. SCE is hurrying to continue using this deficient equipment for its 71 canisters of this toxic and long-lived waste. Each canister holds roughly a Chernobyl’s worth of radioactivity.
The flawed system structurally damages the already too-thin stainless steel containers. Even without damage, containers in a seaside environment will corrode quickly. Structural damage plus the intense heat of the irradiated fuel increases the threat and the speed of potential disasters.
There are safer ways to manage this waste but enough people must insist on using them before it’s too late. This is why we feel so compelled to release this story - eight years in the making - as soon as possible. Its the first of a projected documentary series on nuclear energy, waste, weapons and the transition to renewables.
A trailer is in the works….
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For more on this issue see our recent articles :
We Almost Lost SoCal
The following NOAA animation shows how fallout from a nuclear disaster in California could potentially disperse across the country.