Legal filing to NRC warns of potentially deadly radioactive geysers at the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)
Dateline, February 4, 2020, San Diego — Today, Public Watchdogs announced that it has filed a new 2.206 Petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to revoke Southern California Edison’s ability to bury deadly nuclear waste at the site of the failed nuclear power plant. The hot, radioactive “spent nuclear fuel,” which can reach temperatures as high as 750°F, is deadly for at least 250,000 years. The hot nuclear waste is being stored by Edison in thin-walled (5/8” thick) stainless steel canisters that are warranted to last 25 years. Once the waste is canned, it is lowered into a concrete reinforced carbon steel silo located in an earthen berm, 108 feet from the beach at San Onofre State Beach Park.
|The “Yellowstone Effect” could cause radioactive steam geysers similar to the Old Faithful Geyser on the beach at San Onofre.|
According to the report, if the superheated silos are flooded, they could potentially erupt with deadly radioactive steam geysers. The phenomenon has been dubbed “The Yellowstone Effect,” because the geysers are likely to mimic the action of the famous “Old Faithful” geyser at Yellowstone National Park. According to Edison’s own documents, the beachfront nuclear waste storage facility is subject to flooding and bluff collapse.
The exterior temperature of the thin-walled canisters average 452°F, while the surface of the silos that hold them are at least 350°F, well above the boiling point of water (212°F). In the event of flooding, cold ocean water will flash to steam once it enters the superheated silos, ejecting a deadly blast of radioactive steam from the outlet vents at the top of the below-ground silos.
According to Paul Blanch, a Public Watchdogs’ subject matter expert, “If the site is flooded, the integrity of the 5/8” thick stainless steel canisters may be compromised by pressure and thermal shock. We expect the phenomenon to occur whenever water floods the silos.”
“The Yellowstone Effect is an unanalyzed condition which requires the NRC to halt all movement of deadly spent nuclear fuel at the failed SONGS facility until the threat has been properly assessed” says Charles Langley, Public Watchdogs Executive Director.
UPDATE: 02-18-2020: NRC refuses to release its Flood Analysis for San Onofre.
For background, or interviews with subject matter experts, contact
Charles Langley (858) 752-4600 or langley @ publicwatchdogs.org