New report from Princeton shows failure of Nuclear Regulatory Commission to accurately assess risk
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A new Princeton study, which uses an advanced weather modeling program called HYSPLIT, developed by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows that a radiation plume from a spent fuel disaster would affect more than 18 million people who could be harmed and displaced by a nuclear disaster involving spent nuclear fuel. According to the article the NRC uses an inferior predictive model called MACCS2 that fails to accurately account for changing wind and weather patterns.
Radiation (death) estimates off by up to 500%
According to the Princeton researchers, the effects of a spent nuclear fuel disaster are up to five times greater than what has been previously estimated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The new HYSPLIT model, which accounts for weather and wind conditions on the East Coast, shows that as many as 18 million people may be required to evacuate or take shelter from the deadly radiation plumes that would travel hundreds of miles.
The NRC’s postulated evacuation and plume radius is limited to 50 miles from SONGS.
In January of 2018, Southern California Edison will bury 3.6 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel 108 feet from the beach at San Onofre State Beach Park. The radioactive fuel is deadly for at least 250,000 years, but will be stored in containers that are only guaranteed to last 10 to 25 years (see factory warranty).
Disaster would “dwarf” Fukushima
The article strongly suggests that the NRC has underestimated fallout and evacuation risks at facilities storing large amounts of spent nuclear fuel. According to the report, a “spent fuel fire on U.S. soil could dwarf Fukushima.”
Study echoes last week’s findings by Public Watchdogs
FEMA will not respond
As a result of those exemptions, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was directed by the NRC to no longer be responsive in the event of a radiation release from the buried waste at San Onofre.
San Onofre disaster: forty times worse than Chernobyl
While the Science article focuses on the risks of a fire in a spent fuel pool, California nuclear physicist Paul Frey has determined that a disaster at San Onofre’s proposed Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (i.e. “Nuclear Waste Dump”) would be 40-times worse than Chernobyl, and could contaminate much of the West Coast and the Southwestern United States.
There is no formal Risk Assessment for failure at San Onofre
Neither Edison, nor the NRC have conducted a formal risk assessment of the storage plans for nuclear waste at the failed SONGS nuclear facility.
“The risk was never subjected to an independent professional risk assessment” says Nina Babiarz, a Public Watchdogs Board Member .
“It was granted emergency exemptions as part of the decommissioning of the plant, and those exemptions are dangerous and irresponsible. The new study from Princeton warrants a reassessment off the NRC’s safety decisions,” says Babiarz.
Geologist predicts 100% probability of nuclear incident
According to Public Watchdogs geologist, Robert Pope, a nuclear incident at San Onofre is unavoidable due to the flimsy construction of the canisters that will hold the nuclear waste, and the unique geology of Southern California. The public may view this report as Exhibit 21 from Radiological Regulatory Failure.