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Indybay Feature
As Nuke Plant Demolition Begins, Catastrophe May Be Looming
by Michael Steinberg (blackrainpress [at] hotmail.com)
Saturday Feb 29th, 2020 4:42 PM
As demolition of Socal's San Onofre nuke plant begins, Watchdogs warn a disaster may be looming.
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2020
Michael Steinberg Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

As San Onofre nuke demolition begins Watchdogs assert it could cause a nuclear catastrophe.

On February 6, Coastal News, from Solana Beach in San Diego County, reported, "Public Watchdog, a nonprofit (San Diego-based) advocacy group filed a petition with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission" to put the kibosh on that action.

Coastal News continued "The advocacy group claims that if the facility if flooded with rain or ocean water, the proposed method of disposing of nuclear waste could lead to an explosion of a radioactive steam geyser."

Coastal News also said Public Watchdog is asking the NRC "for a detailed look into disaster proofing the site while it still has radioactive materials present."

The issue at hand is the 3.55 million pounds of high level nuclear waste that San Onofre owner Southern California Edison is having transferred from the nuclear plant's soon to be demolished reactor buildings. Edison hired Pennsylvania-based Holtec company to do this work.

The plan is to put the highly radioactive so called "spent" fuel rods, which once powered the plant, and that contain contain long lived lethal things like plutonium, into containers and bury them only 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean shoreline. Early on in this risky process, in August 2018, one such 50 ton cask, while being lowered, wedged 20 feet above the bottom of the burial site. Then it hovered there for over an hour.

This only became known because a whistleblower subsequently exposed it at a public meeting. Seven months later the NRC fined Edison a mere $116,000 for this "near miss", as it was characterized.

As the date for San Onofre's demolition neared, Edison notified people living within five miles of the plant of disruptions that activity might cause. But nobody has alerted the well over 8 million people living within 50 miles of the nuke of the possible catastrophe that could be brought about by the handling of nearly 3.6 million pounds of high level nuclear waste. San Diego is 50 miles south, LA 60 miles north.

Public Watchdog contends that the high level nuclear waste canisters can reach surface levels of 452 degrees, so that a Pacific breaker or big storm could cause a thermal shock resulting in a "radioactive geyser" upon contact.

The Coastal News article concluded, "Charles Langley, executive director of Public Watchdog pulled no punches in his letter to Margaret Doane, head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 'This petition identifies possibly the next man made engineering disaster of the century, significantly exceeding disasters such as Chernobyl, Fukushima, Bhopal, Exxon Valdez, and the Deepwater Horizon Explosion.' "

Source: Coastal News, thecoastnews.com.
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