Transcript of Whistle Blower David Fritch at San Onofre Community Engagement Panel Meeting, August 9, 2018

DAVID FRITCH:    Thank you. My name is David Fritch. I am a worker on the ISFSI project.[1] I work on the spent fuel. I work as a –

[Get the VIDEO of this event here]

PANEL MEMBER:  Spell your name.

DAVID FRITCH:   F-R-I-T-C-H.  I do industrial Safety, so OSHA stuff, not nuclear stuff, but I’m out there, and I may not have a job after tomorrow.

(about 15 to 30 seconds of video is missing)[2]

DAVID FRITCH:   There were gross errors on the part of two individuals, the Operator and the Rigger, that are inexplicable.  So what we have is a canister that could have fallen 18 feet. It’s a bad day.  That happened, and you haven’t heard about it, and that’s not right.  My friend here is right, public safety should be first, and I have been around nuclear for many years. It’s not. Behind that gate, it’s not. Here’s a few things that I have observed in the three months that I have been here.  (Takes out paper). SCWE, the safety conscious work environment, where people are constantly given encouragement to raise concerns.  It’s not repeatedly, or even, I never even received SCWE training since I have been on site, that’s not standard for any nuclear site.  Operational experience is not shared.  That problem had occurred before, but it wasn’t shared with the crew that was working.  We’re under-manned.  We don’t have the proper personal to get things done safely.  And certainly undertrained.  Many of the experienced supervisors, what we call CLS’s, Cask Load Supervisors.  Once they understand the project and how everything works, were often sent away, and we get new ones.  They don’t understand it as well as even the CRAFT, the basic construction craft, a lot of them that haven’t been around nuclear before are performing these tasks.  Not technicians, not highly trained, not thorough briefs.  This is an engineering problem.  What happened is, inside of that cask, there is a guide ring about 4 feet down, and it is to guide that canister down correctly to be centered in the system.  Well, it actually caught that.  And from what I understand, it was hanging by about a quarter inch.


CHAIR DAVID VICTOR:      Thank you very much for your…

CROWD: (three to five simultaneous voices)  “Let him go.”

CHAIR DAVID VICTOR:  I’m not trying to cut him off.  He stopped. It was the end of his time so I thanked him for his comment.  Briefly finish this.


Yes, yes.  Obviously the point is clear, most people said Edison is not forthright about what’s going on.  I’m sure they’ll tell you, they were going to bring this up once it was analyzed, etc. etc. I’m sure they’re preparing what they would answer if it would come out. And I came here tonight to see if this event would be shared with the community, and I was disappointed, I see that it was not.  I want to thank the community of San Clemente, it is a beautiful wonderful community with amazing people.  They have been great to me, my family is here with me for the month.  And unless Edison and Holtec commit to defining success on this project as safety, I’m not talking about any of the concerns that were voiced today, I’m just talking about download.  Getting the fuel out of the “building” safely.  And are we going to address what would have happened if that canister had fallen…even if just the shell wasn’t penetrated…now will they take it to a repository site.  The question is will Edison and Holtec commit to defining success primarily in terms of nuclear safety?  And will there be transparency, commitment to safety, and the financial commitment to make sure that it’s done successfully? Thank you.


CHAIR:  Thank you for your comments.


[1] An ISFSI is an initialism for Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation. This term is industry jargon used to describe the beachfront nuclear waste dump at San Onofre State Beach Park. Once completed, this will be the largest privately operated nuclear waste dump in the USA.

[2] Southern California Edison has promised to publish the complete video on its Web site today at

2 thoughts on “Transcript of Whistle Blower David Fritch at San Onofre Community Engagement Panel Meeting, August 9, 2018

  1. I think Edison will be happy to find a permanent waste site in for example in Nevada. I think all operators will be happy to get rid of their waste. Did the federal government play a part in the planning process that ended up with waste being scattered all over the USA. It seems to me the key player here is Congress and the Senate.

    1. Michael, The Department of Energy is responsible for finding a permanent storage area for the nuclear waste. It has failed to do so, even though nearly half of its budget is dedicated to this task. The DOE began constructing Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but Nevada did not want it. Southern Calfornia Edison is touting the possibility of “temporary” nuclear waste sites in New Mexico and Texas, but the legal challenges to these sites are formidable, and will take at least ten years or more of litigation to resolve. The best hope right now is to get Edison to stop burying its deadly nuclear waste until it can come up with a better system for storing it. This means better containers, further away from the beach.

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