Nuclear Shutdown News July 2018
Michael Steinberg Black Rain Press
Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear power industry, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our July 2018 report.
San Onofre shutdown problems continue to multiply
Just when you thought nothing more could go wrong with the San Onofre nuclear plant's shutdown process, new issues have emerged. The latest ones are associated with its location: a spectacular Southern California beach that is also one of the Pacific Coast's premier surfing magnets.
On July 2 the Orange County (where San Onofre is sited) Register ran the story "Should the San Onofre nuclear cooling pipes remain under the ocean?" The article was in response to an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) released by the California State Land's Commission, "one of many agencies with a sliver of authority over the teardown of San Onofre," according to the Register.
A central issue in the EIR is what is going to happen to all the high level nuclear waste left over at the nuke plant. Currently it is being put in "dry cask" canisters and buried only 100 feet from the shoreline, where some of it will remain lethal long after we are gone.
In the Register article, John Geesman, a lawyer for the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility stated "The EIR emphasized the waste disposal. Quite conceivably, they're going to have to move the waste from from an initial (temporary) storage system and and decide if it should be relocated onsite.
"That would trigger cost related concerns" because such a move is not budgeted for in the $.4 billion in ratepayer money set aside for the cost of dismantling the nuke plant.
Complicating this, Geeson pointed out, is that "People are going to be using this as a recreation area for decades, if not centuries, in the future."
So don't forget your SPF 360 sunscreen and brain chip activated Geiger counter when you go to the beach then!
Sands of Time
Yes, it's all ultimately about going to the beach, isn't it? And at the San Onofre nuke beach, currently being manicured into a high level radioactive dump, the situation is even worse, since other leftover infrastructure belonging to owner Southern California Edison is further clogging up the works, potentially perpetually, as well.
As the Orange County Register article details, when San Onofre's two reactors were still operating (until 2012), the plant sucked vast amounts of seawater into them everyday they were running, and then pumped the heated up brine back into the Pacific.
This was done using pipes "18 inches in diameter and, for the most part, submerged under sand, " the Register reported. Now what's supposed to happen to this junk?
Edison's plan: "partial removal of the intake and discharge structures that stick up, leaving the rest in place."
But is this really where you'd to put down your beach blanket and umbrella? The Register reported, "Many in the environmental community feel Edison has an obligation to remove everything."
But that would cost Edison about 0 million, according to the newspaper.
Orange County Coastkeeper Garry Brown probably speaks for many when he asserts, "Southern California Edison wants to characterize these fallen structures as reefs. When in reality they are nothing more than subsurface construction. But in reality they are subsurface construction."
Source: Orange County Register, ocregistercom