Nuclear Waste Resources

A primary focus of the Samuel Lawrence Foundation is the environmental threat arising from nuclear waste.

Risks of San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump

In 2021, SLF collaborated with the Coalition for Nuclear Safety (CNS) released a summarized one-pager on the problems of the San Onofre nuclear waste site. We encourage you to share it with your family, friends, and colleagues to increase awareness on this critical issue that could affect millions of California residents. 

San Onofre Problems One-Pager

Potential Impact: What Could Lead to a Waste Storage Accident?

In 2019 SLF released an expert report on 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 report. To see how these problems could lead to a nuclear waste accident at San Onofre exceeding $13.4 trillion, read our separate Economic Impact Report.
T. English, PhD, S.Chakraborty PhD, Len Hering Sr. RADM USN

San Onofre Problems Report (2019)

A Nationwide Pileup of Nuclear Waste

The issue of how best to store nuclear waste at San Onofre affects Californians across the state, but the problem extends far beyond our side of the country. In fact, nuclear waste is piled up at nearly 80 locations in 34 states. Of all the locations where nuclear waste is stranded, more than two dozen are on the grounds of shuttered plants. Some of those plants have been dismantled and removed altogether. But the waste stays behind, with nowhere to go.

We encourage you to view and share this map highlighting the widespread issue of nuclear waste storage in the United States.

View Nuclear Waste Locations Map


The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Task Force Report was released last year 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:

Download S.O.N.G.S Report

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.

Read San Onofre Poll Results
Statement on Tritium On November 19, 2020, SFL had radiation biologist, Ian Fairlie PhD, lecture on the safety of living near a nuclear power plants. Dr. Fairlie described some recent thinking about tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, which is released in large quantities by nuclear facilities – even at closed plants like San Onofre. The summary of his comments are followed by references to his report. Read more about the effects of tritium.

Eric Epstein Webinar

“How to do Independent Radiation Monitoring at Nuclear Power Plants”

Stream the Interview! Epstein is the chairman of Three Mile Island Alert, Inc. and coordinates EFMR Monitoring, Inc. In this webinar, Mr. Epstein addresses the need for transparent radiation monitoring at nuclear power plants, lessons learned form Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and several questions posed by the webinar audience.

Dr. Ian Fairlie Webinar

“Is it Safe to Live Near San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant?”

Stream the Interview! Fairlie, a consultant who studied the Chernobyl fallout before leading the UK’s Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters, has advised the European Parliament and other government agencies on the dangers of radiation exposure. During the webinar, Fairlie told listeners that it’s better to be aware of the dangers of radiation exposure than to live in ignorant bliss.

Kate Brown NEIS

"The Chernobyl Disaster is Not Mankind's Greatest Nuclear Disaster"

In Manual for Survival, MIT Professor Kate Brown explores how a decade worth of archival research regarding the Chernobyl disaster highlighted the irreversible impact of man-made radioactivity on every living thing. Join us in Night with the Experts, where she explores definitive accounts of the Chernobyl disaster to highlight the catastrophic costs of the nuclear industry.

Dr. Shaun Burnie Webinar

“Fukushima’s Radioactive Legacy”

Stream the Interview! Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, focuses on nuclear policy in East Asia, nuclear fuel cycle issues, and nuclear power plant safety. Burnie discusses the radioactive water problem and the impacts of our nuclear power industry on the environment and people.

Dr. Don Mosier Interview

“Lessons from the COVID19 Response”

Stream the Interview! Appointed by Anthony Fauci, Dr. Mosier chaired the first National Institution of Health AIDS review committee. At the forefront of infectious disease, he frequently collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO), ANRS, UC San Diego, Scripps and other critical scientific organizations.

Fukushima: Ongoing Lessons for California

“I almost had to evacuate Tokyo,” said Former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan. On June 4, 2013 the Former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan spoke at Samuel Lawrence Foundation’s, “Fukushima: Ongoing Lessons for California” in San Diego, CA.  Introduction by San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts.  Panel testimony included remarks made by nuclear experts including the Former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko and Former Commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Peter Bradford.  Watch the full video recording of the event here.

Additional Resources

San Onofre Safety provides years of documents on dry storage, safety issues, health risks, and nuclear waste transportation.

Fairewinds provides easy to understand information on the basics of nuclear power, waste, spent fuel and meltdowns.

Reports & Briefings

In May of 2019, Admiral Len Hering (Ret.) gave a briefing to Congress on the management of NRC and Southern California Edison regarding the decommissioning of SONGS. Watch excerpts from the briefing below.

An expert report on the potential economic impacts of the San Onofre nuclear waste storage.

A collaboration of physicists, former military personnel, and engineers with considerable nuclear experience issued the report. A potential impact of a nuclear waste accident at San Onofre could exceed $13.4 trillion.

R. McCann PhD, E. Stryjewski PhD

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

With the discovery of radium in the early twentieth century comes one of the biggest scandals in American history and a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come. The Radium Girls illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to a poisonous “wonder” substance and their strength in the face of impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator

In his book, Gregory Jaczko pens a wake-up call to the dangers of lobbying, the importance of governmental regulation, and the failures of congressional oversight. But it is also a classic tale of an idealist on a mission whose misadventures in Washington are astounding, absurd, and sometimes even funny. Above all, Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator is about confronting the truth about one of the most pressing public safety and environmental issues of our time: nuclear power will never be safe.

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

The definitive story of humanity’s most awesome discovery and invention. What began as merely an interesting speculative problem in physics grew into the Manhattan Project, and ultimately the atomic bomb with frightening rapidity. Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly — or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity there was a span of hardly more than twenty-five years. Here is the complete story of how the bomb was developed.

Too Hot to Touch: The Problem of High-Level Nuclear Waste

An engaging and authoritative account of the controversies and possibilities surrounding disposal of nuclear waste in the US. The book tells the full history, bringing to life the pioneering science, the political wrangling and media drama, and the not-in-my-backyard communities fighting to put waste elsewhere. This is a timely book for public interest groups, affected communities, policymakers, environmentalists, research scientists, and anyone interested in finding out more about this important issue.

Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future

After Chernobyl, no major international study tallied the damage, leaving Japanese leaders to repeat many of the same mistakes after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Drawing on a decade of archival research and on-the-ground interviews, Kate Brown makes clear the irreversible impact of man-made radioactivity on every living thing; forcing us to confront the untold legacy of decades of weapons-testing and other nuclear incidents, and the fact that we are emerging into a future for which the survival manual has yet to be written.

Who Killed Karen Silkwood?

In 1974, Karen Silkwood is a lab technician at an Oklahoma plutonium factory operated by the Kerr-McGee Nuclear Company. She is also collecting documents about the hazards and wrongdoings inside the facility. On November 13th she is on her way to deliver her documents to a New York Times reporter. She never arrives. Her car goes off the road and she is killed. Her documents vanish. So begins the dramatic and inspiring story of Karen Silkwood. It is a case that involves the awesome power and influence of the nuclear industry and a cover-up on a grand scale.

Nuclear Lies, Deceptions and Hypocrisies

A powerful eye-opener about the lies, deceptions and hypocrisies of 7 countries, including the United States, who never became members of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and whose nuclear program has been kept secret from the beginning. Mr. Sarram exposes the consequences of these lies and deceptions that have changed the world we live in today.

Burying Uncertainty: Risk and the Case Against Geological Disposal of Nuclear Waste

What should be done with our nation’s high-level radioactive waste, which will remain toxic for thousands of years? This is one of the most pressing problems faced by the nuclear power industry. Incisively blending geophysical information, risk analysis, and philosophical considerations, K. S. Shrader-Frechette argues that the present policy is profoundly misguided on both scientific and ethical grounds. She makes clear that with radioactive waste, even more than with other dangers in a highly technologized world, what you can’t see can hurt you.

The Cult Of The Atom: The Secret Papers Of The Atomic Energy Commission

Drawing on the vast collection of U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (A.E.C.) files uncovered during his ten-year investigation of the agency, Daniel Ford recounts the full story of the nuclear safety cover-up and persistent A.E.C. mismanagement that turned the once-promising idea of nuclear power into the failed technology that gave rise to the accident at Three Miles Island. He also discloses some of the safety defects of the nuclear power stations still operating today.

Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment

While there has been much discussion concerning the impacts of nuclear accidents, never before has there been a comprehensive presentation concerning the health and environmental effects of the low dose radioactive contaminants that were emitted from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. This book provides a complete and extensive summary of all known research, and offers new insights to the likely long-term health and environmental consequences of nuclear accidents.

Nuclear Politics: The Strategic Causes of Proliferation

When do states acquire nuclear weapons? Overturning a decade of scholarship focusing on other factors, Debs and Monteiro show that proliferation occurs only when a state has both the willingness and opportunity to build the bomb. Unthreatened or protected states do not want them; weak and unprotected ones cannot get them. This powerful theory combined with extensive historical research on the nuclear trajectory of sixteen countries will make Nuclear Politics a standard reference in international security studies for decades to come.

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