Open Letter to California Leaders: Where is the Action on Nuclear Waste?

We stand for the secure containment of radioactive material to ensure the protection of our environment, economy and way of life.

We, the ratepayers, write to express our deepest concerns for the stranding of high-level waste along our waterways and communities at the four California nuclear power plants: Humboldt Bay, Rancho Seco, Diablo Canyon and San Onofre.  We represent Californians from business, science, education and advocacy sectors and speak for everyday people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, gender identities and political affiliations.  Contamination from failed nuclear waste storage would affect all of us equally.

We call for the government, utility and manufacturer accountability to prevent risks associated with the indefinite storage of nuclear waste at reactor sites.  Best practices in canister selection and management of nuclear waste is not being carried out by utilities, or private nuclear waste contractors.  This behavior demonstrates major policy gaps and risks that the state must address immediately.

For example, at San Onofre the 5/8-inch thin-walled storage canisters in-use are already scratched and there is no qualified inspection, maintenance, monitoring or repair procedure in place.  San Onofre is in a particularly vulnerable location on our California coast with a population density of over 8 million people in the immediate surroundings, and adjacent to the busiest transportation corridor for people, goods and services in Southern California.

As elected leaders you can effect change.  We challenge you to:

  1.  Restrict the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decommissioning funds until canisters can be inspected, monitored, repaired and transported via methods verified by an independent party;
  2.   Establish independent, real time monitoring of the environment surrounding storage facility
  3.   Require utilities to establish funding reserves from utility resources to cover emergency response to radiation releases, as long as radioactive material is on-site; and
  4.   Task appropriate state agencies to study and propose potential interim storage sites in California for the nuclear waste generated here.

California leads the nation and the world in air quality, greenhouse gas reduction and fossil fuel policies.  We must take equally aggressive action with our nuclear waste policies.  This is a rare moment to demonstrate leadership and creativity in tackling a problem.

We call for California’s leaders to take up their charge to protect the residents, environment and economy of California.  It is time that Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Speaker Anthony Rendon and Attorney General Xavier Becerra take action.

Signed,

[Your name]