For Immediate Release
Public Watchdogs learned today that the Supreme Court of the United States has denied our petition for a hearing regarding the right of private citizens to sue utilities over safety issues involving toxic high-level nuclear waste. At issue is the storage of highly radioactive “spent” nuclear fuel. 3.6 million pounds of this fuel, which is deadly once it is “used up” or “spent,” is being stored in thin-walled canisters at the location of the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in northern San Diego County.
Southern California Edison abruptly shuttered the nuclear power plant on January 31, 2012, due to a flawed design and a radiation leak.
“This is an issue of national consequence. It sets a dangerous precedent across the country for all other decommissioning nuclear power plants. Edison has buried this radioactive nuclear waste in an unsafe manner,” says Nina Babiarz, a Public Watchdogs Board Member. “The failure of the Court to hear our case doesn’t mean the problem has been solved. The nuclear can has been kicked down the road for our children to deal with later. It’s a lousy deal.” says Babiarz.
Critics of the thin-walled canisters, which are manufactured by Holtec Corporation, have called the 5/8″ stainless steel storage cans “Mobile Chernobyls.”
As a result of today’s decision, nuclear waste that is deadly for more than 250,000 years will continue to be stored at San Onofre State Beach Park in containers that are only warranted to last 25-years (get warranty here). What’s more, the beachfront nuclear waste dump is located in a tsunami inundation zone, on an earthquake fault line in the middle of millions of people.
The case, Public Watchdogs v. Southern California Edison, et al, pitted a small consumer group against some of the USA’s biggest utilities including Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, Sempra Energy, and the manufacturer of the 25-year canisters, Holtec International.
“Under current law, the sole responsibility for regulating the safety of deadly nuclear waste rests squarely on the shoulders of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” says Charles Langley, the Executive Director of Public Watchdogs. “Unfortunately, this is a regulator that is refuses to regulate. The NRC is not living up to its responsibility to enforce federal regulations that were enacted to keep the public safe. This is why the rights of taxpaying citizens to question the NRC’s authority in a court of law is so very important. It is about the public’s right to due process.”
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