"San Onofre is a Disaster Waiting to Happen"
- Edward Maibach, PhD.
Professor, George Mason University
Risks of Nuclear Waste Stored at San Onofre
A primary focus of the Samuel Lawrence Foundation is the environmental threat arising from 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste at San Onofre State Beach.
Time is not on our side
Nuclear waste is the most deadly poison on the planet
Thin-metal canisters (5/8") are prone to corrosion and through-wall cracking in about 20 years.
Radioactive waste is deadly for 100,000 years, or more
Radioactive waste is expected to remain on the coastline for centuries
Worst possible storage location
Stored 100 feet from ocean and just 18 inches above ground water
Thin-walled canisters are susceptible to corrosion cracking from salty air
Risks of sea level rise, earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, and terrorist attacks
Southern California Edison’s Mismanagement
Consistent pattern of risk denial, and lack of transparency
Violations and cover-ups occurred and exposed by whistleblowers
Received most severe citation from regulators for safety violations
Potential for Radiation Exposure
Damaged canisters can release deadly radiation into the air, land, and ocean
5/8" thin-walled metal canisters were scratched and gouged when lowered into storage
Canisters cannot be adequately monitored, inspected, repaired, or replaced
There are no emergency plans in place to protect the public in event of a disaster
Admiral Hering reveals the dangers of NRC and Edison’s Mismanagement of Nuclear Waste at San Onofre
Install most sensitive radiation and leak detection technology, from University of California San Diego
Construct an on-site handling facility to repair and replace the thin metal canisters
Move nuclear waste off the beach. San Onofre is geologically unstable with earthquakes faults, tsunami potential and wildfires
Thomas English PhD, Subrata Chakraborty PhD, Len Hering Sr. RADM USN
The most serious issues concerning the storage of nuclear waste at S.O.N.G.S. include the damage done to the waste canisters when lowered into the storage vault. These 54-ton thin-walled steel canisters are loaded with nuclear waste and are transported to the on-site concrete storage vault.
The current storage configuration provides the factors contributing to gouges in the external steel walls of the canisters: operators have no visibility of the canister when lowering into storage and precise adjustments cannot be made.
The damage remains undetected and unrepaired due to the lack of thorough inspection and monitoring at the San Onofre Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations (ISFSIs). The preliminary findings are found in the report below:
The Guardian: ‘A combination of failures:’ why 3.6m pounds of nuclear waste is buried on a popular California beach
Failures at San Onofre Nuclear power plant hit the front page of the The Guardian newspaper (2021).
In the article, reporter Kate Mishkin picks apart San Onofre’s political and regulatory gridlock, as well as a history of near accidents. This is one of the best summary of the dangerous decisions leading to the current crisis at San Onofre, an environmental disaster waiting to happen.
Potential Impact: A Waste Storage Accident Could Cost $13.4 Trillion
In early 2019 SLF released two expert reports on the potential economic impacts and the technical problems of the San Onofre nuclear waste storage. A collaboration of physicists, former military personnel, and engineers with considerable nuclear experience issued the reports.
A potential impact of a nuclear waste accident at San Onofre could exceed $13.4 trillion.
2020 S.O.N.G.S. Task Force Report
The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Task Force Report was released this week after 18 months of fact-finding. SLF is proud to have joined scientists, policy makers and community leaders in preparing the document. Thanks so much to Rep. Mike Levin for bringing us together.
We will continue to appreciate his leadership as he advances eight key policy recommendations contained in the report.
We encourage you to review the report and share it widely:
San Onofre Radioactive Waste Poll Results
In February 2021, SLF collaborated with UCSD to survey registered voters in the County of San Diego and the County of Orange. The data makes clear that large majorities of registered voters in both counties are highly concerned about the potential consequences of storing radioactive waste at the San Onofre nuclear power plant and support more transparency form utility companies when it comes to radioactive waste storage.
The results further show that, after learning about the radioactive waste stored at San Onofre, an overwhelming majority support more aggressive federal, state, and local action to contain radioactive waste in order to protect the environment, the economy, and our communities.
"Is HHS Blocking Cancer Study?"
Federal Roundtable on Potential Health Effects Among Individuals Residing Near Nuclear Power Plants
February 14, 2023; 10 AM to 1 PM ET
Do Emissions from Nuclear Power Plants Cause Cancer?
Roger Johnson, PhD
Professor Emeritus, San Clemente, CA
Cancer is the #1 killer in the US, and over 100 million Americans live near nuclear plants.
It recently came to light that the US Department of Health and Human Services declined to conduct a study of cancer around nuclear plants, even though Congress appropriated the money for it last year and directed HHS to carry it out. First the NRC and now HHS have blocked such studies for over a decade. Read the HHS decision document and a short summary of the issue by Roger Johnson, PhD.