Expert issues dire warning about flood risks at the San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump

 These partially assembled silos now hold 18 foot high steel cans filled with radioactive waste 108 feet from the beach. Once the 73 silos are filled with canisters containing dry spent fuel assemblies, they are covered with a ventilated  concrete capstone.

Today, Paul Blanch, a highly respected and nationally recognized nuclear waste authority, issued an important safety warning in  The Times of San Diego regarding the storage of 3.6 million pounds of lethal high-level radioactive waste at the site of the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).  The waste is radioactively deadly for at least 250,000 years.  The canisters that hold the waste are only guaranteed to last 25 years (get the warranty here).

The nuclear waste at the SONGS beachfront “Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation” or ISFSI,  is stored 108 feet away from the Pacific Ocean in thin-walled  5/8″ thick stainless steel canisters.  Each of the 73 cans measure about 18 feet high by about 5 feet across, and weigh about 100,000 pounds when fully loaded.   According to Blanch, the nuclear waste dump, known as an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, or “ISFSI,” is vulnerable to inundation by tsunamis, high waves, and flash flooding from rainfall.

“If the ocean were to swamp the so-called Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, we could have an unsurpassed disaster on our hands, one that has never occurred in the U.S. commercial power industry,” says Blanch.

The canisters at SONGS are sizzling hot

The canisters at SONGS are stored partially below ground in an earthen berm covered in a layer of concrete.  The berm contains seven rows of silos that contain 73 thin-walled stainless steel canisters filled with sizzling hot dry spent fuel assemblies.  The “used up” fuel inside the canisters can heat the exterior of the cans to as much as 750F, and the canisters require a constant flow of air to keep them from overheating.

For a copy of the petition, click here.

To get the full story from the Times of San Diego, click here.

For video of Paul Blanch, Public Watchdogs, and Stuart Scott’s appeal to the NRC, click here.

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