Nuclear Regulatory Commission has no “Plan B” for a canister failure at San Onofre

Dateline August 8, 2018 — During today’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Webinar, (get the Public Watchdogs Video Capture Here) a top NRC  official admitted that the beachfront San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump, which is owned and operated by Southern California Edison, has no backup plan for repairing or safely storing a damaged nuclear waste container.

During the public  question-and-answer segment of the Webinar, Donna Gilmore, a public safety advocate representing San Onofre Safety, asked the NRC how Southern California Edison, the owners of the deadly radioactive nuclear waste dump, would  repair a cracked or damaged canister that was leaking, once the spent fuel pools are removed.

The NRC official replied that the fuel would be removed in a “Hot Cell.”

But there’s just one problem: There are  no Hot Cells within 1000 miles of San Onofre, and even  if there were, numerous local state and federal laws forbid the movement of high-level nuclear waste across state lines, or even across the freeway.

How dangerous is the situation? 

According to Charles Langley, executive director of  Public Watchdogs, a nonprofit San Diego public advocacy group, “The stress of removing a canister that has already cracked open would probably create an even bigger nuclear waste disaster.”

The waste inside each of the more than 70 silos at the beachfront San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump is deadly for at least  250,000  years. In addition, unlike the 10″ thick “dry casks” that are used by First-World Nations and responsible utilities in the United States, the canister system at San Onofre uses “thin-walled” stainless steel canisters that are  only 5/8″ thick.

Even more troubling, legal documents show  the thin-walled cans are only guaranteed to last ten years, and  that the president of the company that makes the cans was fined millions of dollars by the U.S. Government for bribery.

Says Langley, “Today’s admission by the NRC that it has no  backup plan for dealing with a radiation leak at San Onofre is deeply disturbing.  The cans are only 5/8″ of an inch thick stainless steel.  That means the only thing between us and a nuclear release is a  piece of steel that’s thinner than the width of a dime. We need thick-walled dry casks, not the off-brand canisters that are being used at San Onofre.”

For an example of the type of thick-walled “dry casks” used by first-world nations, click here.

To learn more about Holtec International, the canister manufacturer for the San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump, click here.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a Public Watchdogs advocate, call (858) 384-2139.

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