CBS Update on radioactive waste at failed San Onofre nuclear reactors
Experts disagree on safety of nuclear waste storage at SONGS.
Public Watchdogs vs. David G. Victor
The burial of millions of pounds of nuclear waste is now underway at San Onofre. The radioactive waste, which is deadly to all human life for at least 250,000 years, is being stored 108 feet from the beach. Yet curiously, a social “scientist” David G. Victor, a staunch defender of Southern California Edison’s plan to bury the 3.6 million pounds on the beach, defends the plan, stating the risk of a crack in one of the thin-walled 5/8″ thick stainless steel canisters is low. Dr. Victor is wrong.
High risk: Through-wall cracking is a serious risk
David Victor’s statements directly conflict with real-world reports at another nuclear power plant. According to the International Atomic Energy Commission, cracking in similar thin-walled stainless steel canisters has occurred at the Koeburg nuclear power plant near Cape Town South Africa. At Koeburg, however, the tanks were simply holding water, yet cracks began to appear in the Grade 304L austenitic stainless steel in as few as 16-years. The phenomena is known as chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking.
At Koeburg, the culprit behind the cracking was salt. Specifically the salt in the air. Like the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), Koeburg is close to an ocean (the Atlantic), and after 16 years, the facility had through-wall cracks in its steel. What’s more troubling is that the stainless steel tanks at Koeburg were water storage tanks. At SONGS, the tanks are holding hot nuclear waste that’s radioactive for millions of years.
What’s more, the nuclear garbage cans at San Onofre are being buried in concrete silos that are just inches above the salt water table, and mere yards from a public beach.
|Choride (salt) induced stress corrosion cracking in austenitic stainless steel. The crack will branch out until the completely penetrates the wall in a through-wall crack, making it susceptible to stress from minor earthquakes and tsunamis.
As deadly as it gets
Once the offloading of nuclear waste is completed at San Onofre in the next 18 months, it will be the world’s largest beachfront nuclear waste dump, and the largest privately operated nuclear waste facility in the USA. It is also the most dangerous radioactive dump in America. Even a small crack in one of SONGS nuclear trash cans would emit “millions of curies of radiation” according to Chris Singh, the president of Holtec International, the company that manufactures the radioactive garbage cans in use at SONGS. One curie of radiation is more than enough to kill.
Stress Corrosion Cracking already documented at SONGS
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extensively documented existing stress corrosion cracking at SONGS in other stainless steel components at the facility, stating “All of the failures discussed … occurred when the components were located near a salt-water body.” Yet despite the NRC’s knowledge about the dangers of cracking from chloride-induced stress corrosion, it has been obdurate in its refusal to use safer thick-walled dry casks instead of the cheaper thin-walled cans provided by Holtec.
How you can stop this madness
Public Watchdogs is the only group that has sued to prevent the completion of this dump in federal court, and we invite you to support our work with a donation and by lending your signature to our petition.