Below are recent photographs of casks that are being stored at San Onofre State Beach from the now-defunct SONGS (San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station). If all goes according to plan, Southern California Edison, the owner of SONGS will store millions of pounds of high-level radioactive waste that’s deadly to humans for millions of years about 100 feet from the beach and a few inches above the water table.
Each cask is warrantied by the manufacturer, Holtec, to last up to twenty years. On October 6, 2015, the California Coastal Commission issued a temporary renewable permit to Southern California Edison to store the waste onsite, making San Onofre the world’s first dual-use public beach and nuclear waste dump.
These concrete enclosures hold each of the giant dry casks like a large concrete cup holder. Photo: PublicWatchdogs.org
A closer view of the cask enclosures. The object in the foreground is a “dry cask.” The thin-walled casks are covered in tarps to protect the delicate steel hull from salt air corrosion .Photo: PublicWatchdogs.org
An closer view of the cask enclosures. Photo: PublicWatchdogs.org
Each of these covered dry casks is a stainless steel tube awaiting a spent nuclear fuel rod assembly. After the fuel rods are inserted into the casks, they are welded shut and filled with helium to prevent fires. Photo: PublicWatchdogs.org
More than 80 casks will be filled with spent fuel rods from the heart of San Onofres’ failed nuclear reactors. The solar powered parking lights above them give you a good idea of how big these casks really are. Photo: PublicWatchdogs.org
The 8,000 pound beer can: The thin walled hull on each delicate Holtec HiSTorm cask is 5/8 of an inch thick. If these casks were shrunk down to the size of a beer can and built to sclae, they would be about as thick as a beer can and weigh somewhere between 8,000 and 13,000 pounds. Photo: PublicWatchdogs.org
This aerial view of SONGS, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station shows where the casks will be buried.
If all goes according to plan, San Onofre will be the world’s first dual use public park and high-level nuclear waste dump. The Western edge of the dump will be about 100 feet from the public beach. Photo: PublicWatchdogs.org
This drawing, which is not to scale, shows how close the new high-level radioactive waste dump will be to the beach. Note that the bottoms of the delicate stainless steel containers are just inches above the water table, which is filled with corrosive salt water.
The new San Onofre Nuclear Wate Dump was approved for construction by political appointees at the California Coastal Commission, which secretly approved the permit prior to holding the legally required public hearings. The dump is yards from the LOSSAN Rail Corridor and the Interstate 5 Freeway. More than 8.5 million people live in the 50-mile radiation plume radius identified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The new radioactive waste dump will be located near unstable cliffs. It will rest on top of an earthquake fault line and is located in a tsunami zone. Photo: PublicWatchdogs.org