Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Sounding The Alarm: San Onofre Nuclear Waste Storage


  • Who: Citizens concerned about nuclear waste safety at San Onofre
  • What: Edison’s quarterly Community Engagement Panel (CEP) Meeting - San Onofre
  • When: Wed, June 27, 2018 4:30pm - Meeting starts at 5:30pm
  • Where: Casino San Clemente, 140 West Avenida Pico, San Clemente, CA 92672
  • Why: Shocking revelations - Edison has no method in place to repair or replace defective canisters of nuclear waste. (they think it will take a few years to figure that out...) 
Background on Nuclear Waste issues at San Onofre, just south of the world famous Trestles spot in San Clemente California AKA SURFING USA!
In Feb 2018, Edison began the year and a half long process of loading 73 more canisters of nuclear waste into the beachside concrete storage silo at San Onofre, adding to the 51 loaded canisters that have been on-site starting in 2003.

Public criticism ranges from outrage to disbelief as people realize the location of the nuclear waste storage is 100’ from the ocean, inches above the water-table, in an earthquake-tsunami zone, a few hundred yards from the I-5 freeway and Railroad, and…. on one of southern California’s most iconic beaches.

Details about the thin-walled canisters being used to contain the deadly radioactive waste cause even more alarm.  Ongoing Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) studies show that these canisters are susceptible to corrosion which can lead to cracking.  Loaded canisters cannot be inspected for cracks.  And, as the President of Holtec, the manufacturer of the canisters, stated at a previous CEP meeting, even a microscopic through-wall crack will release millions of curies of radionuclides into the environment. https://youtu.be/euaFZt0YPi4 

With each welded-shut 5/8” thick (thin) stainless steel canister containing roughly the radioactive equivalent of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, critics aptly refer to the loaded canisters as Chernobyl Cans.

Recent Shocking Revelations:
At the March 2018 CEP meeting, in his update on the nuclear waste loading process, Tom Palmisano, Edison’s Chief Nuclear Officer, stated that a defective canister was discovered.  Workers found loose bolts in the bottom of an empty canister. The bolts hold the internal fuel basket structure in place, and allow passive helium flow inside the canister.  This air flow is critical for cooling the thermally hot and highly radioactive waste.  According to Palmisano, Holtec changed the interior design without notifying Edison or the NRC.  Palmisano stated that all remaining canisters with the defective design were returned to Holtec, and loading resumed using canisters with the original ‘bolt-less’ design.

But what about the four - already loaded - defective canisters?
When asked if the four defective canisters will be unloaded, and reloaded into canisters with the original ‘bolt-less’ design, Palmisano explained that the technology does not currently exist to unload the waste from the canisters back into the spent fuel pools.  He also mentioned this has been a known problem for years.  https://youtu.be/mjgna2atn7Y.   see video of entire March 2018 CEP meeting -

AS YOU READ THIS LINE TODAY Edison has no method to repair or replace the defective canisters.  LET THAT SINK IN FOR A MOMENT!!! NO PLAN B IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG!

At this next CEP meeting, in response to Edison’s inability to unload / reload canisters, Palmisano will presumably repeat what he has already stated at a number of CEP meetings, that defective or leaking canisters will be stored inside transport casks (like Russian dolls).  But transport casks have not been approved by the NRC for storage of defective or leaking canisters. Transport casks were not designed for storing these extremely hot canisters.

Public awareness of Edison’s poor choice of both the storage canisters and the beach-side storage site is growing.   At this point, people are particularly concerned about the 51 canisters (Chernobyl Cans) that could already have significant corrosion and cracking.

We are calling for Edison to build a Hot Cell, and reload the fuel waste into proven Thick-wall Casks (10" to 19.75" thick).  A Hot Cell is a helium-filled, robotically-operated facility, and it is the only other NRC approved method to unload canisters.

Thick-wall Casks, unlike the Thin-wall Cans, can be inspected, maintained and monitored to PREVENT major radioactive releases into the environment.  Thick-wall Casks withstood the Fukushima disaster.

Further implications of recent revelations:its not just our backyard.

These problems with the canisters at San Onofre apply to numerous sites across the country where over 2400 loaded thin-walled canisters are currently stored.

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board December 2017 report to Congress states
spent nuclear fuel and its containment must be retrievable, maintained and monitored to prevent hydrogen gas explosions in both short and long term storage and transport. Edison has clearly indicated this cannot be done with the on-site spent fuel pools.
NWTRB DOE Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel December 2017

Edison's NRC license requires the ability to unload canisters back into the pool.  It appears Edison is out of compliance with their NRC San Onofre dry storage licenses.  RESCIND THOSE LICENSES!

Edison needs to build a Hot Cell (asap) to address the
Chernobyl Can - Ticking Time Bombs - at San Onofre.

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