News Flash: It is impossible to buy insurance against nuclear disasters

Today, Dr. Sarah Mosco published an important and widely distributed editorial opinion explaining that it is impossible for citizens to buy insurance against a nuclear disaster at the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s beachfront nuclear waste dump. Get the opinion here.

Background on Emergency Planning at San Onofre

Public Watchdogs exposed the lax safety regulation at San Onofre in its acclaimed report on bad NRC regulation.  The nuclear waste dump is located fewer than 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean’s crashing surf.  It  contains nuclear waste that is deadly to all human life for at least 250,000 years stored in thin-walled stainless steel canisters with a 25-year warranty.   The dump is also located in a tsunami inundation zone (see page 12 for a tsunami inundation map)  and is situated directly on top of an earthquake fault line.  Despite these hazards, a pro-nuclear law called the Price Anderson Act protects unsafe nuclear power operations by imposing extreme and unreasonable limitations on property damages to the victims of nuclear and nuclear waste accidents.

Below is a table reproduced from our report, Radiological Regulatory Failure that gives examples sowing how the NRC has exempted the San Onofre nuclear waste dump from virtually all the safety regulations required under Federal Law.

SONGS Exemptions from Emergency Response Capabilities Required under Federal Law

A randomly selected list of questionable safety planning and emergency response exemptions granted Southern California Edison by ignoring provisions within the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 for nuclear reactors. Source: Public Watchdogs’ Radiological Regulatory Failure, nuclear risks to the public health exposed

Description of Unlawful Exemption YES / NO Details
Emergency Planning Zones – Is Edison maintaining the ten mile “EPZ” as required under the Code of Federal Regulations? Text of law forbidding exemption: [ CFR 10.47(b)(1) ] NO No. Emergency planning for a ten mile radiation plume zone is no longer necessary.
Maintaining an Emergency Plan – Is there a comprehensive Emergency Plan for a major radioactive release? Text of law forbidding this exemption: [ CFR 50.47(b)(1) and 50.47(b)(4) ] NO No. Edison is not required to do any emergency planning or preparedness outside the SONGS perimeter
Emergency Operations Facility: Is Edison maintaining an EOF as required? Text of law forbidding this exemption: [ CFR 50.47 (b) (3) ] NO No. The Emergency Operations Facility has been shut down
Evacuation Plans: Is there an evacuation plan as required by the Atomic Energy Act? Text of law forbidding this exemption: [ CFR 10.57 (b) (10) ] NO No. This is now a local responsibility
Does Edison have the ability to estimate a lethal radiation dose? NO No. Requirements to estimate lethality of radiation leak are gone.
Is there a system in place at Edison to estimate the lethality and health issues of radiation released during the accident? [ 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E, Sec. IV. A.4 ] NO No. Requirements to estimate lethality of radiation leak are gone.
Can Edison officials remain anonymous? Text of law forbidding this exemption: [See requirement for organizational chart, 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E, Sec IV. A.3 ] YES YES! Headquarters personnel may remain anonymous
Is there a responsible executive(s) in the event of an emergency? NO No. Charts showing chain of command are no longer necessary x
Is there an organizational chart that identifies responsible executives during a nuclear emergency at SONGS? Text of law forbidding this exemption: [10 CFR part 50, Appendix E, Sec IV. A.3 ] NO No. Charts showing chain of command are no longer necessary
TERRORIST ATTACK: Is Edison prepared to work with local police? Text of law forbidding this exemption: [ CFR part 50, Appendix E, Section IV. A.7 ] and [CFR part 50, Appendix E, Section IV. D1 ] NO No … not anymore …
Does Edison have a LIST of Local Emergency Officials it must notify in a disaster? NO No. Maintaining lists of local First Responders is no longer required
Will the storage containers last millions of years? NO No. Although the waste in the canisters is toxic for millions of years, the steel canisters and their concrete enclosures are only guaranteed to last ten to 25 years.
The hot radioactive waste at San Onofre is deadly to most life forms for millions of years.. YES The plutonium in the canisters is deadly for 250,000 years. The uranium remains radioactively toxic for more than five million years.
Will FEMA respond to a radiation disaster at SONGS? NO No, All funding for an off-site FEMA response has been terminated at the request of Edison.
Will California Office of Emergency Services be ready to respond? NO No, all offsite funding is eliminated thanks to Edison.
Is the public notified Immediately as required by law in event of a disaster? NO No. Edison is not required to notify the public within 15 minutes of a radiation release
Will SONGS Air-Raid siren be used in a nuclear radiation emergency? NA The siren is now silenced by funding cuts

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