San Onofre News – 7-1-2020 – Updated

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Edison’s own assessment of tsunami and flooding risks at its ISFSI-by-the-Sea, Graphic courtesy SCE via PublicWatchdogs

– Citizens demand electeds intervene in SONGS decommissioning
-Potentially catastrophic tsunami risks to the San Onofre radioactive waste dump revealed
-Huge radioactive San Onofre pressure vessel takes a train to Utah
– Radioactive transport risks
– Critics respond to Senator Levin’s Task Force Report on radioactive waste storage at SONGS
– What’s the future of SONGS?

A ‘hot cell’ or ‘dry cell’ is a sealed building filled with helium in which damaged radioactive containers and materials can be handled remotely by robotics for inspection, repair and repackaging.

‘Hot Cell’ Demanded

Photo: MIT

Citizens tell CCC “Cancel the Songs Waste Storage Permit!”
A Petition launched by the Samual Lawrence Foundation calls for the California Coastal Commission to amend its permit to decommission San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

A sample letter from Cathy Iwane reads in part:

Removing the spent fuel pools at San Onofre without a validated handling facility on-site is an irresponsible decision. The spent fuel pools are the last option for dealing with a damaged canister.

The Coastal Commission staff report lacked measures to ensure the protection of our coast and cities along the California coast from long-term environmental contamination.

…[C]riteria for granting a permit:
Require a plan for damaged nuclear waste storage canisters not fit for transportation
Require applicant to construct a handling facility on-site to mitigate damaged canisters
Retain spent fuel pools, until a validated handling facility is built (i.e. hot cell)
Damaged canisters could expose the land, air, and water to dangerous radiation which would harm California’s natural resources, coastal tourism, economy, and residents.
Coastal storage and decommissioning permits must require a condition that the applicant maintain the cooling pools and subsequently construct a hot cell on-site at the site.
This battle cry is heard at 65 similar storage sites around the US. Please respond by action, as if your office depends on it!

Info and sign-on letter:
Flood of Evidence Reveals ‘Severe’ Tsunami Risks at Edison’s San Onofre Waste Dump-by-the-Sea

On June 24, 2020, Public Watchdogs made a formal PowerPoint presentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in support of their petition to revoke Southern California Edison’s right to bury nuclear waste at the site of the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). Their presentations to the NRC documented the potential results of a tsunami flood.  Edison’s own evidence shows the ISFSI is in the ‘severe damage’ zone.

For PDF’s and a video go here.

Petition snip:
“From Edison’s own submittal under oath, executed on August 26, 2013 under penalty of perjury, the area of the ISFSI may be submerged by an unspecified level of seawater during a tropical storm or tsunami resulting in potential rupture of all 72 spent fuel storage casks. This event is likely to result in rupture of multiple casks and the release of millions of curies of long-lived radioactive isotopes.The impact of the thermal shock of cold water from the Pacific Ocean immersing the 452-degree Fahrenheitmultipurpose canister (MPC)is unanalyzed and void of regulatory scrutiny. It is possible that this thermal shock could challenge the only boundary between millions of curies, the environment, and millions of people. In addition, potential criticalityas discussed in 10 CFR 72.124 has not been addressed.” [emphasis added

A huge convoy carrying a low-level nuclear reactor is making its way through Nevada. Last week it passed through the Coyote Springs Valley via U.S. Highway 93. PHOTO BY CHARLENE PAUL/The Progress.

The hazards to roads, bridges, culverts, rails and people along the journey of this radioactive San Onofre reactor vessel will be repeated 99 times if the nuclear industry gets its way.  99 more reactors need to be decommissioned.  99 more reactor vessels will be moved to dump sites.  Industry plans to also move the high level intensely radioactive waste around the country to “interim sites” and theoretically, move them again to a permanent site.  This is insanely risky.

Spent Nuclear Reactor Passes On Its Way To Disposal
July 8, 2020

By CHARLENE PAUL – The Progress

A nuclear reactor vessel from southern California’s decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station slowly made it’s way through the Coyote Springs Valley on Monday, June 29.

At about 5:30 am the convoy left the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas. The 770-ton load on a 122-foot-long trailer powered by six heavy-duty Class 8 trucks began its one-way, 400-mile trip to a disposal site in the desert in Clive, Utah. Read more

Decommissioned nuclear reactor to hit Nevada roads

By Mick Akers

The largest object to travel on Nevada roads will set out on its over week-long journey next week.

The 1.5 million-pound, 16.5-foot-diameter decommissioned reactor pressure vessel from Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will hit the road early Monday morning from Apex in North Las Vegas, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced Friday.

To keep the load off Interstates 15 and 80, the vessel will mainly travel on U.S. Highway 93 and State Route 318 before crossing the Utah border on its way to Clive. Read more – Included video

Screen grab from RJ video

SONGS’ radioactive 770-ton pressure vessel takes a train to Utah

Debris from demolished nuke plants is coming to Utah, where EnergySolutions is proposing a new landfill

By Brian Maffly   Salt Lake Tribune

Across the country, aging nuclear power plants are getting retired and coming down, generating a new and potentially vast waste stream that could head to Utah.

Some remains of California’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, including its 770-ton pressure vessel, already are on train cars crossing Nevada to the nation’s largest repository for low-level, or Class A, waste in Utah’s remote West Desert. Read more…

Beyond Nuclear warns, “The transportation of radioactive waste already occurs, but will become frequent on our rails, roads and waterways, should irradiated reactor fuel be moved to interim or permanent dump sites.”

If Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) sites proposed in New Mexico & Texas are allowed, these same routes will converge on them from all around the country. Graphic – Beyond Nuclear

Levin Report Issued

Congressman looks to use report to accelerate efforts to get nuclear waste off the beach

A task force put together by Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, released a report Wednesday making 30 policy recommendations for storing and eventually finding a place to send used-up nuclear fuel — in particular, from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which is home to 3.55 million pounds of waste.

The first-term congressman said he will pursue legislation on Capitol Hill based on some of the report’s proposals. Among them: Creating a Nuclear Waste Administration and giving states a say in the environmental reviews of handling, storing and moving spent fuel. Read more…

PDF of the Levin Report is here.

Editors’ Comment –

Levin’s Task Force, Co-Chaired by Adm. Len Hering and Former NRC Head Gregory Jaczko, has issued its Report.

The 60-page document contains some good recommendations, but also comes down in favor of Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS).  No surprise, since Levin has introduced a bill that would prioritize making San Onofre’s radioactive waste first in line for shipment, once a CIS has been established, and that’s his over all agenda.

Leven Report’s Major Problems:

  • It does not recommend an on-site hot cell, which is necessary for repairing canisters and repackaging fuel.
  • It advocates for Centralized Interim Storage in New Mexico and Texas – instead of moving San Onofre’s radioactive waste  to a safer location as close as possible to San Onofre
  • It seconds President Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future ‘s Report’s advocacy for creation of a ‘new Nuclear Waste Administration.’   
The new agency would, ‘establish a new facility siting process and a new framework to achieve consent for future storage and disposal sites, including mandates for accountability and enforcement. ‘ The problem with this scenario is that plans for the new Administration point to staffing it with…you guessed it…people with ‘industry experience.’  Another captive agency would be born that would do the industry’s lowest cost, never-mind safety, bidding.‘s Donna Gilmore comments:

Focusing on location will no more solve our nuclear waste storage problem than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic would have stopped it from sinking. 

The problem is the uninspectable, unmaintainable thin-wall canisters only 5/8″ thick. 

Mike Levin should be proposing legislation to require the NRC enforce existing regulations and current Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) requirement for monitored retrievable fuel storage. These thin-wall canisters do not even meet minimum ASME N3 Nuclear Pressure Vessel requirements for storage and transport. The NRC gives numerous exemptions to these and other safety requirements.

The Swiss already meet these US requirements. We don’t need more “studies” or a new government agency as this Levin report proposes.

The Swiss use thick-wall transportable storage casks up to 19.75″ thick that can be maintained and monitored to PREVENT major radioactive releases and explosions. They have an on-site hot cell facility (Dry Transfer System) for inspection, maintenance and repackaging of fuel assemblies, as needed. Thick-wall casks don’t have the short-term cracking problems that the thin-wall canisters have.

Learn more about the Switzerland solution here:

Some San Onofre canisters are already 17 years old. We’re on borrowed time with these degrading canisters. Read more

SONGS Task Force Announces Findings and Recommendations for Spent Fuel Storage

By Lillian Boyd and Shawn Raymundo / San Clemente Times

In January 2019, Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) assembled a task force with the goal of driving solutions to move and safely store sensitive waste located at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). Read more

What Next for San Onofre Generating Station?

SONGS Task Force publishes recommendations on dealing with 3.5 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel sitting on our beach

By Jake Howard / San Clemente Times

With everything that’s going on in our crazy world at the moment, it’s important not to lose sight of some of the more looming issues facing our local waters. Read more

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