NRC denies independent public oversight after “near-miss” nuclear disaster at San Onofre
For background or more information, contact Charles Langley at (858) 752-4600
Today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — the only agency allowed under U.S. law to regulate the safety of deadly nuclear waste — denied the public access to its evaluation of what it calls a “near-miss” at SONGS, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on August 3.
On Monday, September 10, 2018, NRC staff will conduct an alleged “inspection” of the SONGS nuclear facility. The inspection was prompted after workers at the failed nuclear reactor nearly dropped a 105,000 pound can of nuclear waste almost 18 feet (Get a copy of the NRC inspection charter here)
The non-profit group Public Watchdogs
is concerned that an 18 foot drop — or even a drop of a few inches — could have precipitated a regional nuclear disaster requiring the evacuation of nearby communities.
The NRC’s “alarming secrecy.”
“The public was not informed of this near-miss nuclear disaster,” says Nina Babiarz
, a public advocate at Public Watchdogs. “We believe the public has a right to know
when the public’s safety is put at risk. Southern California Edison waited several days before it reported the event to the NRC. The NRC has waited more than a month to
put boots on the ground. The alarming secrecy of the NRC and its slow response is troubling. We are deeply disturbed that it took more than a month for the NRC to put boots on the ground. What are we paying them for?” says Babiarz.
In a letter
sent Friday afternoon to the NRC’s Region IV Deputy Director, Public Watchdogs expressed concern that the NRC is improperly allowing Edison to take full control over the NRC inspection.
According to Public Watchdogs executive director, Charles Langley
, “We want to be assured that the NRC, not Edison, is in control of this investigation. Right now it appears that Southern California Edison is directing and controlling the NRC’s activities and inspections.”
Southern California Edison kept the cask drop a secret until an internal safety inspector at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station made the incident public at a meeting of Edisons public relations organ, the “SONGS Community Engagement Panel.” Get a video copy of the complete meeting here.
Video of Safety Inspector admonishing Southern California Edison for not notifying the public of a near-miss nuclear disaster.
For more information about this story, contact:
Charles Langley, Executive Director