Monthly Archives: June 2013

No 'Independance' from Nuclear Fallout

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Sign Petition here.

Hi Friends,

EON is a member of the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network. We’re asking you to please help Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN) reach beyond our immediate community in gathering comments for our FDA Citizen Petition. Fukushima is an on-going nuclear disaster with mounting risks to us all.

FFAN coalition members Ecological Options Network, Beyond Nuclear, and Citizens for Health recently filed this petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

This campaign connects many points of interest: safe energy, children’s health, holistic health, the scientific and medical communities, cancer survivors, early childhood education proponents, maternity, parenting, the environment, organic consumers, farmers, wineries, anti GMO, the slow food movement, and more ~ the list goes on and on.

We all have to eat, we all care about kids. We must call on FDA now to protect this and future generations from radioactive waste in our food supply.

Attached are three “ADs” designed by the talented activist and graphic design artist Laura Lynch. Please choose one or more to download and post to your websites today for social networking this coming week.

Dr. Peter Montague, Executive Director of the Environmental Research Foundation and author of the renown Rachels Environment and Health Weekly will be featured on an upcoming AD for FFAN with this to say: “Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN) is the only group that is paying close attention to the drift of radioactivity from Fukushima into the world’s food supply. This is a big, serious problem that’s only going to grow worse as time goes on. Thanks to FFAN for doing this nitty-gritty work to protect children everywhere!”

We need your help or FDA may remove the petition from without accepting it and its supporting documentation into their process. We must not let that happen, and with your help it won’t.

Thanks for helping us with our campaign to give our children a future!

Mary Beth and Jim for the EON Team

AD #1 PDF here:

Ad #2 PDF here:

Ad#3 PDF here:
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"A Seismic Event for the Nuclear Industry!" – The San Onofre Shutdown

Southern Calfornia nuke free activists and organizers celebrate outside the San Onofre nuclear power plant's gate SoCal Edison's decision to permanently decommission the two remaining faulty reactor units.

De-Briefing – Shutdown Lessons From San Onofre – The Significance Should Not Be Misunderestimated
In this edition we bring you video reports relating to San Onofre’s closing, a brief commentary on what’s to be learned from that successful California campaign, and an update on the status of our forthcoming documentary, SHUTDOWN: The Case of San Onofre.

[ UPDATE NOTE: The first version of this blog edition was published before we noticed that Devils Tango author Cecile Pineda had alerted us that some SoCal activists had posted their own debriefing observations on a FaceBook membership page (Coalition Against Nukes). Scroll down for a re-posting of their wise views at the end of this edition.]

First, excerpts of a celebratory news conference held outside Southern California Edison’s San Onofre nuclear power plant Fri., June 7, 2013, following the company’s announcement that the faulty plant will be permanently shutdown. FoE consultant Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds calls it ‘A seismic event for the nuclear industry.’ Gene Stone of ROSE cautions its just Step One in a long process. Interviews with Gary Headrick of San Clemente Green and Ray Lutz of celebrate the accomplishment, while stressing that the long-term work for a safe decommissioning process and the secure onsite storage of hundreds of tons of radioactive fuel rods in an earthquake and tsunami zone is just beginning. Thanks to EON producers Morgan Peterson and Laurent Malaquais for this report. [ Scroll down for their coverage of the recent public forum ‘Fukushima Lessons for California.’ ]

The One-Two Punch – Informed Public Opposition PLUS “A Terminal Overdose of Market Forces”
Energy guru Amory Lovins has been saying for decades now that nuclear power reactors will eventually go as extinct as the Dodo – not from nuke free activism, but – just from what he has called “a terminal overdose of market forces.”

It has taken a while, but recent events are beginning to suggest Mr. Lovins may have been at least partly right all along. Now even finance magus Warren Buffett appears to agree. According to the industry website PowerEnineering, Buffett’s company “MidAmerican Energy won’t be building a nuclear unit in Iowa anytime soon and will be refunding much of the public money collected to help it finance a nuclear feasibility study in the state.” Buffett reportedly chose instead to invest in solar and wind.

Meanwhile, in addition to the announced closing of the last two faulty reactors at Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), there are cascading reports of other financing-motivated closures across the country. Writing on, Chris Nelder suggests that nuke plants are ‘falling like dominoes,’ pointing out that, “SONGS, with its 2,200 megawatt (MW) generating capacity, is the fourth nuclear plant to be closed this year due to economics.”

In addition, Exelon’s Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey; Duke Energy’s Crystal River plant in Florida; and Dominion Resources’ Kewaunee plant in Wisconsin have all recently bitten the dust.

And, as Nelder points out:

Even new plants still under construction are coming under fire. Southern Co.’s new reactors at Vogtle in Georgia reportedly are running over budget and recovering costs long before the plants are to begin operation, arousing the ire of locals. SCANA Corp.’s new Summer Nuclear Station in South Carolina is running over budget and incurring delays. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s new 1,200 MW Watts Bar 2 plant, on which construction was halted in 1988, is soon to be completed at a cost of $4.5 billion, 80 percent over its initial budget, the utility says.

Budget overruns and delays are the norm for nuclear plants. As a 2009 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) shows, the actual cost of nuclear plants has routinely come in at three times their initial estimates. Cost overruns, canceled plants and stranded costs total more than $300 billion in 2009 dollars, the study said. At a final construction cost of $4.5 billion in 1984 (equivalent to $10 billion in 2013 dollars), SONGS was finished at 10 times its original estimate.

Plans for new nuclear plants in Texas and Maryland have also been scrapped as costs continue to rise.

Economic and technical considerations have also dampened enthusiasm for nuclear proponents’ fond fantasy of a new generation of so-called small nuclear reactors (SNRs). [ You can find out why at . ]

“This industry is on its final trajectory downward,” said Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica at a news conference following SoCal Edison’s shutdown announcement. Recommending that the NRC be renamed the Nuclear Retirement Commission, Pica said that, “The people of California now have the opportunity to move away from the failed promise of dirty and dangerous nuclear power and replace it with safe and clean energy provided by the sun and wind.”

Former Tennessee Valley Authority head S. David Freeman, who, subsequently as head of other utilities, lays claim to having shut down more nuclear power reactors than any other administrator, said at the joint news conference with Pica, said it was a “step in the right direction and another move toward the renewable revolution that’s underway in California.”

Should all this be a cause for celebration and encouragement for nuke free activists across the country and around the world? Yes. Can we sit back, relax and simply let ‘market forces’ administer capital punishment to the nuclear industry? The case of San Onofre suggests otherwise.

What or Who Killed San Onofre?
And can those Whats and Whos succeed in closing the remaining U.S. fleet of aging nuclear reactors, many of which also face strong local opposition and growing demands that they be shut down? These are the questions circulating in the nuke free community around the country. No doubt the nuclear industry is thinking hard about them, too.

EON has been covering the San Onofre shutdown process almost from the beginning, and has to date posted over 40 videos relating to the issue, netting at least nine thousand views from our over 2,000 YouTube subscribers and beyond. We also published dozens of blog editions on the issue. We’re now working to complete our documentary-in-progress, SHUTDOWN: The Case of San Onofre, aimed at answering those questions and more. Working with our longtime friend and No Nukes/Solartopia activist/journalist Harvey Wasserman as our Editorial Consultant, we aim to produce a filmic antidote to the currently circulating, shamelessly misleading, well-funded, industry propaganda piece Pandora’s Promise. [For a critique of the pseudo-doc, see Beyond Nuclear’s ‘Pandora’s False Promises.’]

There is clearly no one-strategy-fits-all template that can be applied to unique local circumstances. But the lessons of the San Onofre shutdown victory point to several key components that CAN be applied to a variety of local situations:

Coordination and cooperation between local, national and international civil society groups (NGOs).
Coordination and cooperation and ‘turf-sharing’ among local organizations and groups.
Independent, alternative media coverage in blogs and video posts.
Mainstream media coverage generated by cultivating local, regional, national and international news organizations and reporters.
Outreach to and involvement of regional elected bodies, labor and civic groups and public officials.
Invocation and activation of all possible legal and legislative remedies.
Active citizen organizational interventions and public letter and petition campaigns with all existing relevant public agencies at local, state and national levels – in this case the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC); the California Energy Commission; the California Coastal Commission; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB); state and national legislative representatives.
Pubic outreach and education campaigns.
Participation in agency-sponsored public fora as well as organizing of such fora by activist organizations themselves.
Oh, and I almost forgot, earn and honor the trust of whistleblowers.

A ‘Full Court Press’
All these options, remedies, interventions and organizing strategies were employed in the case of San Onofre, and it’s impossible to assess which ones were the deciding factors. Together they established a public climate, a political and economic context of forces, all of which no doubt impacted SoCal Edison’s ultimate decision to pull the plug. When reporters asked, in a telephone news conference with Edison spokes people, if ‘political’ considerations had entered into the decision, the Edison representatives consistently dodged the questions, saying they would only address economic factors. They clearly wished to avoid acknowledging the impact of civil society organizing and citizen mobilization that created the context in which the ultimate decision was made. Nor did they credit the fact that Senator Boxer and Congressman Markey had weighed in with several important interventions and ongoing pressure to release crucial documents. [ Note: A telephone replay of the news conference is available for 30 days from June 7 at the following numbers: 1-888-568-0503 — for callers in the United States; 1-203-369-3476 — for international callers; Passcode: 5241 ]

They referred to the Atomic Safety Licensing Board’s (ASLB’s) decision in response to a Friends of the Earth petition that called for a public re-licensing hearing. That would have potentially added months to the process with no assured outcome, thus adding to the company’s financial losses. In a recent analysis, Glenn Pascall, Chair of the San Onofre Task Force, Sierra Club Angeles Chapter notes:

On May 15 the Sierra Club wrote the NRC endorsing the Friends of the Earth petition and arguing that even though the Commission could spurn an ASLB decision, to do so in this case would cause deep damage to NRC’s public credibility. In the same time period, Senator Barbara Boxer and U.S. Representative Ed Markey urged the Commission to consider the growing body of evidence that San Onofre’s steam generator system faced an alarming level of technical uncertainty.

The game was clear: Could citizen groups and elected officials checkmate a staff recommendation and convince the Commission to back the Safety Board?

Environmental groups turned up the temperature. At the Sierra Club, we shared our letter to the NRC with all of you on our website. No less than 3,537 Angeles Chapter members and friends wrote their own personal version of this letter and sent it to the NRC – a record level of response for the Angeles Chapter on any issue.

By the same process, another 2,713 personal letters went to the California Public Utilities Commission from Sierra Club members and friends urging the PUC to stop subsidizing Edison with almost $60 million a month in ratepayer dollars – a flow of cash that insulated the utility from making hard decisions about the future of the plant.

And, in their phone news conference, Edison representatives studiously avoided giving any credit to the informed public opinion climate created by such events as the ‘Fukushima Lessons for California’ public forum which had occurred just days before.

The forum, held June 4, 2013 in the San Diego County Board Chambers with the sponsorship of San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, was organized by Torgen Johnson and Junko Abe with the help of the Samuel Lawrence Foundation, Gary and Laurie Headrick of San Clemente Green, Sandra Bartsch, and Olive PR Solutions. Co-sponsorship was from Friends of the Earth(FoE) and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). Months in the planning, the event featured presentations from former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, former NRC Chair Gregory Jazcko, Fairewinds nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford and Friends of the Earth nuclear expert Kendra Ulrich.

Watching the presentations presented below, it is hard to imagine that this event didn’t also impact Edison’s shutdown decision.

What CA Can Learn from Fukushima – Pt. 1 – Naoto Kan
This is Pt. 1 of EON’s direct coverage of the public forum. [ Note: We previously posted excerpts of the webcast of this event. The footage presented here was shot and edited by EON’s Southern California Team, Morgan Peterson and Laurent Malaquais. ]

In this segment, former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan relates his experiences and conclusions regarding the on-going Fukushima disaster, and shares his views on the dangers of nuclear power.

What CA Can Learn from Fukushima – Pt. 2 – Gregory Jaczko
In this segment, Gregory Jaczko, Former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, shares his views on nuclear safety issues in the U.S. in the light of the on-going Fukushima disaster.

What CA Can Learn from Fukushima – Pt.3 – Arnie Gundersen
In this segment, Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates, gives his analysis of the lessons learned from Fukushima applied to San Onofre.

What CA Can Learn from Fukushima – Pt. 4 – Peter Bradford

In this segment, Peter Bradford, who was an NRC Commissioner at the time of 3-Mile Island, shares his perspective on the future of nuclear energy – the ‘nuclear renaissance’ is dead.

What CA Can Learn from Fukushima – Pt. 5 – Kendra Ulrich & Comments

In this segment, Friends of the Earth nuclear expert Kendra Ulrich succinctly lays out the issues and current state of play on the issue of restarting San Onofre – an experiment by Southern California Edison with 8.7 million Southern California residents as experimental animals. She is followed by comments from the panel and questions from the audience.

From Cecile Pineda: Here are some comments from a few of the folks that worked on the SHUTDOWN OF SAN ONOFRE NUKE PLANT.

Comments by Gene
1. Educate the public and the press on any & all problems with nukes
2. Raise the voice of the people and bring them in the streets and to events
3. Put pressure on NRC to do their job more effectively
4. Take a seat at the table of all points of power
5. Involve government agencies, city, county, state, and local school
6. All the above actions come down to one thing, delay delay, delay all
actions by Nuke plants & gov’t to move forward to restart nukes
7. Stay strong and always keep the pressure on
8. And maybe the most important of all, remember that spiritual importance of this work
9. Build coalitions in all directions
10. Make and understand long term goals (we never did this, but wanted to)

Comments by Gary
I’d say Edison deserves a lot of credit, but when they gave us an opportunity, we made the most of it. Agility matters and is something big corporations are lacking. We were responsive and well connected through social media (but we could do a lot better in that regard too).

Some of this may have been luck, but I’d say the harder we worked, the luckier we got. So be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices, because it is worth it and it is the right thing to do.

I think attitude and appearance makes a difference too. People listened to our opinions because we knew what we were talking about and we said it with conviction and dignity, and for the most part, we played by the rules and kept things orderly, (we’ll I may have slipped up on that last one a few times, but you know how it goes.)

Comments by Carol
Develop agreed upon core messages as needed for specific hearings, calls to action, press releases, demonstrations, eyc.

Develop media contacts; provide them with a steady stream of information

Be flexible in your tactics and ready to respond appropriately to rapidly changing circumstances over which you have little control

Recognize and respond to unique situations, i.e., shutdown by Sano due to tube problems; jump on them

Recognize that post-Fukushima we have a tragic, but realistic scenario of how bad things can be; exploit theme of lack of control over nature. Nuclear industry talks about their safety procedures…Fukushima demonstrates the weakness of that argument

Delay tactics worked in our situation because it increased economic costs, gave us more time to develop more allies and more time to educate public

Use nuke industry’s weaknesses against them; exploit any and all negative information against them; for example, more info kept coming out about Sano and we were able to use that info

Comments by Cathy Iwani
1) local “think tanks” evolve naturally, organically by way of coffees, BBQ’s. Set aside social time to freely discuss with like-minded members of your community. Ours in Solana Beach/Del Mar/San Diego/ San Clemente includes: an environmental lawyer, surfers, elected politicians, educators, alternative media reporters, astute and capable community organizers including one who worked for the California Public Utility Commission (very important to deal with cost/basis and not only safety issues….because cost is what will shut them down), die-hard activists, a toxicologist, political “fixers” RN nurse and specialist in Emergency response/Homeland Security, evacuees from Japan able to translate and speak publicly, artists, organic farmers, Peace Center leaders, members in the Occupy movement, musicians, Mothers. Assess the talents in the group. Everyone has a role to play.

2) From local think tanks, put out feelers to “biggie” scientists, medical doctors once/now respected in the industry, in academia. i.e. Arnie G., Dan Hirsch (UC Santa Cruz Nuclear Policy Professor), Physicians for Social Responsibility, Big players from Friends Of the Earth.

2a) Keep the reports of success/defeat going out to national organizations which support/thrive/learn learn your local actions

3) Create liaisons with regulatory agencies which afford behind the scenes conversations with citizens and local electeds. Ex: ex-NRC chairman Jazsco, Chairman MacFarlane, member of County Office of Emergency Services, Commissioner on Public Utilites Commission. Open a dialogue with them. Hold them accountable. Occupy them in a public, respectful manner.

4) Utilize and nurture whistle-blowers.

5) Outreach campaign: speak at schools, city council meetings, School Boards of Educations, faith based groups welcome the moral imperative argument on leaving our progeny with the dangerous nuclear waste, Boards of realtors, Geologists Association meetings, write/email Senators, congressional reps, NRC Commissioners, Public Utility commissioners, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Mom’s Holistic Groups

6) local media- alert them immediately on whistle blower info, hold press conferences at important events, always have press releases written by coalition for events.

7) Co-opt with ALL arms of environmental movement. Symbiotic relationships are beneficial for ALL in growing the movement. Ex: our coalition will set up a table at tomorrow’s San Diego Monsanto March for outreach on keeping SanO shut down. There, I’ll promote our FDA petition through FFAN. Please see

Create something new, rendering the current system/blockade obsolete. i.e. promoting sustainable energy projects. Or turn up the volume of the peoples’ voice by bypassing mainstream media/establishment gov’t entirely with powerful twitter campaigns. Make use of social media. Change starts at the bottom. It always has. Grassroots has the power to create policy makers’/electeds’ agendas and they know it. It’s a matter of creating the right conditions.

9) Have at least one respected, scientifically accurate, excellently sourced website where coalition members go for educational handouts, calls to action, suggestions to get involved. Like

9) Never give up.

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Huge Victory! – Edison Packs it In! – UPDATED

...and, as the sun sinks in the west, we bid farewell to SONGS...

[ Scroll down for news coverage links ]

It’s Official!!!
Southern California Utility Says It Will Close Troubled San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

Activists held a celebratory news conference Fri. June 7, 2013, at the nuclear power plant.

San Clemente Green Presidnet Gary Headrick makes a point at a press conference hled by anti-nuclear advocates at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Photo by Jim Shilander

“It has great national implications and is a real strong message that this nation does not need nuclear power,” said Shaun Burnie, of Friends of the Earth.

Democratic US Senator Barbara Boxer said she was “greatly relieved that the San Onofre nuclear plant will be closed permanently… This nuclear plant had a defective redesign and could no longer operate as intended.”

“This is very much a self-inflicted wound (by Southern California Edison),” said Arnie Gunderson, a nuclear engineer who has worked closely with Friends of the Earth over the last year to push for the closure. “Continuing to operate this plant was just not safe, and I think Edison realized that and decided to throw in the towel. This is a seismic decision for the nuclear power industry in this country and worldwide.”

Carol Jahnkow of San Diego’s Peace Resource Center called the closure a direct result of activists’ work “This is a real victory for people power, and don’t anybody forget that,” she said. Anti-SONGS Activists Overjoyed by Shutdown News
EYE ON SC, News Headlines | June 7, 2013 by Staff
By Jim Shilander

For anti-nuclear advocates, Friday morning’s news that Southern California Edison would close San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station meant the end of a long fight for the many prominent activists who came together for a celebratory press conference in front of SONGS, the mood was jubilant.

Gary Headrick, the leader of San Clemente Green, which has been fighting the effort to restart the plant, was ecstatic by the news.

“It’s a huge relief and very emotional,” Headrick said. “The only thing I can compare would be the days my children were born and there’s all that anxiety and stress, you want it to come out right. And then comes the moment where the reality is they’re healthy and they’re happy. It’s the same with this nuclear power plant. It’s incredible to think what was at stake and how incredibly important today is, not just for San Onofre, but Diablo Canyon and other nuclear power plants around the world that have this old technology.”More…

Jun 7, 2013
San Onofre is Dead & So is Nuclear Power
Harvey Wasserman –

From his California beach house at San Clemente, Richard Nixon once watched three reactors rise at nearby San Onofre. As of June 7, 2013, all three are permanently shut.

It’s a monumental victory for grassroots activism. it marks an epic transition in how we get our energy….

… As of early this year, Southern California Edison’s path to a re-start at San Onofre seemed as clear as any to be expected by a traditional atomic tyrannosaur.

But with help from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator-to-be Ed Markey (D-MA), a powerful citizen uprising stopped it dead.

So did the terrifying incompetence and greed that has defined the nuclear industry from the days of Nixon and before. More…

Activists praise San Onofre closure, but 1,100 layoffs expected
By Abby Sewell – LA Times – June 7, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

Anti-nuclear activists and Sen. Barbara Boxer celebrated Southern California Edison’s announcement Friday that the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant will be permanently retired. More...

Calif. utility to close troubled nuclear plant
By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a jolt to the nation’s nuclear power industry, the owners of Southern California’s San Onofre plant announced Friday they are shutting it down for good after the discovery of damaged equipment led critics to charge it could never operate safely again.

…Environmentalists celebrated outside the front gates of the beachfront plant, and a pack of bicyclists shouted, “Shut it down!” as they went past.
Gary Headrick of San Clemente Green likened the news to births of his children: “The joy and the relief is comparable to something that big in my life, to know that 8 million people will be safe now from this supposed restart.”

…It will take months, and possibly years, to complete the closing of the reactors, known as decommissioning. It will involve removing all fuel from the reactor cores.

Edison’s stock price was up slightly in midday trading.

Friends of the Earth, an advocacy group critical that was waging a battle to block the restart, praised the decision to close it.

“We have long said that these reactors are too dangerous to operate and now Edison has agreed. The people of California now have the opportunity to move away from the failed promise of dirty and dangerous nuclear power and replace it with the safe and clean energy provided by the sun and the wind,” the group’s president, Erich Pica, said in a statement.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said she, too, was relieved.

“This nuclear plant had a defective redesign and could no longer operate as intended. Modifications to the San Onofre nuclear plant were unsafe and posed a danger to the 8 million people living within 50 miles of the plant,” she said. More…

Published on Friday, June 7, 2013 by Common Dreams
Win!: California’s San Onofre Nuclear Plant to Close Permanently
“The people of California now have the opportunity to move away from the failed promise of dirty and dangerous nuclear power and replace it with the safe and clean energy provided by the sun and the wind”
– Andrea Germanos, staff writer

In a victory for anti-nuclear activists, the trouble-stricken San Onofre nuclear plant is set to close permanently.

The plant’s operator, Southern California Edison, made the announcement on Friday.
The closing of San Onofre “is very good news for the people of Southern California,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth (FOE). More…

California glitch-ridden nuclear plant shut down for good
By Agence France-Presse
…Southern California Edison (SCE) has been trying to fix problems which came to light last year after a minor leak in one reactor at the San Onofre plant, north of San Diego in southern California.

But SCE parent company Edison International’s chairman Ted Craver said experts had finally concluded that they cannot resolve the problems quickly or comprehensively enough.

“We have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if (San Onofre) might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs,” he said.

The shutdown will mean the loss of some 1,100 jobs, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Anti-nuclear activists hailed the announcement. “It has great national implications and is a real strong message that this nation does not need nuclear power,” Shaun Burnie, of Friends of the Earth, told the newspaper.

Democratic US Senator Barbara Boxer said she was “greatly relieved that the San Onofre nuclear plant will be closed permanently… This nuclear plant had a defective redesign and could no longer operate as intended.” More…

Timeline of San Onofre plant’s operations
By U-T San Diego 1:21 p.m.June 7, 2013

Workers, surfers, pols react to San Onofre
By Mark Walker10:47 a.m.June 7, 2013

Workers at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station said they were taken by surprise with Southern California Edison’s early Friday announcement that it is closing the plant.
So too were many of the environmentalists that have lobbied to close the plant. About a dozen shutdown advocates gathered in front of the seaside generation facility by mid-morning to celebrate its shuttering.

“This is very much a self-inflicted wound (by Southern California Edison),” said Arnie Gunderson, a nuclear engineer who has worked closely with Friends of the Earth over the last year to push for the closure. “Continuing to operate this plant was just not safe, and I think Edison realized that and decided to throw in the towel. This is a seismic decision for the nuclear power industry in this country and worldwide.”

Carol Jahnkow of San Diego’s Peace Resource Center called the closure a direct result of activists’ work “This is a real victory for people power, and don’t anybody forget that,” she said. More…

What went wrong at San Onofre
Vibrations caused premature wear in the tubes carrying heated water

Graphic shows what went wrong at San Onofre

7 things to know about San Onofre
Why California’s first large commercial nuclear reactor is closing, what happens next
By U-T San Diego 10 a.m.June 7, 2013

Years of cleanup
Decommissioning a nuclear power plant is a tightly regulated process with a 50-year time frame. It requires removing and disposing of radioactive components such as the reactor and associated piping and cleaning up radioactive or hazardous contamination in the buildings and on the site. The costs are enormous.

The Cost Of Power Post-San Onofre
Friday, June 7, 2013
By Hailey Persinger
How much will it cost to power your home now that San Onofre is offline for good? Short answer: possibly more. More…

AP/ June 7, 2013, 10:02 AM
Calif. utility to retire troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant
LOS ANGELES The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California is closing, after an epic 16-month battle over whether the twin reactors could be safely returned to service, officials announced Friday. More…

Calif. utility will close troubled nuclear plant
By MICHAEL R. BLOOD; Associated Press
The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant on the California coast is closing after an epic 16-month battle over whether the twin reactors could be safely restarted with millions of people living nearby, officials announced Friday. More…

SCE Press Release:
Edison International : Southern California Edison Announces Plans to Retire San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Company Will Continue Its Work with State Agencies on Electric Grid Reliability
Southern California Edison (SCE) has decided to permanently retire Units 2 and 3 of its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

“SONGS has served this region for over 40 years,” said Ted Craver, Chairman and CEO of Edison International, parent company of SCE, “but we have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if SONGS might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs.”

Both SONGS units have been shut down safely since January 2012. Unit 2 was taken out of service January 9, 2012, for a planned routine outage. Unit 3 was safely taken offline January 31, 2012, after station operators detected a small leak in a tube inside a steam generator manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). Two steam generators manufactured by MHI were installed in Unit 2 in 2009 and two more were installed in Unit 3 in 2010, one of which developed the leak.

In connection with the decision, SCE estimates that it will record a charge in the second quarter of between $450 million and $650 million before taxes ($300 million – $425 million after tax), in accordance with accounting requirements.

After months of analysis and tests, SCE submitted a restart plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in October 2012. SCE proposed to safely restart Unit 2 at a reduced power level (70 %) for an initial period of approximately five months. That plan was based on work done by engineering groups from three independent firms with expertise in steam generator design and manufacturing.

The NRC has been reviewing SCE’s plans for restart of Unit 2 for the last eight months, during which several public meetings have been held. A recent ruling by an adjudicatory arm of the NRC, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, creates further uncertainty regarding when a final decision might be made on restarting Unit 2. Additional administrative processes and appeals could result in delay of more than a year. During this period, the costs of maintaining SONGS in a state of readiness to restart and the costs to replace the power SONGS previously provided would continue. Moreover, it is uneconomic for SCE and its customers to bear the long-term repair costs for returning SONGS to full power operation without restart of Unit 2. SCE has concluded that efforts are better focused on planning for the replacement generation and transmission resources which will be required for grid reliability.

“Looking ahead,” said Ron Litzinger, SCE’s President, “we think that our decision to retire the units will eliminate uncertainty and facilitate orderly planning for California’s energy future.”
Litzinger noted that the company has worked with the California Independent System Operator, the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission in planning for Southern California’s energy needs and will continue to do so.

“The company is already well into a summer reliability program and has completed numerous transmission upgrades in addition to those completed last year,” Litzinger said. “Thanks to consumer conservation, energy efficiency programs and a moderate summer, the region was able to get through last summer without electricity shortages. We hope for the same positive result again this year,” Litzinger added, “although generation outages, soaring temperatures or wildfires impacting transmission lines would test the system.”

In connection with the retirement of Units 2 and 3, San Onofre anticipates reducing staff over the next year from approximately 1,500 to approximately 400 employees, subject to applicable regulatory approvals. The majority of such reductions are expected to occur in 2013.

“This situation is very unfortunate,” said Pete Dietrich, SCE’s Chief Nuclear Officer, noting that “this is an extraordinary team of men and women. We will treat them fairly.” SCE will work to ensure a fair process for this transition, and will work with the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) and the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) on transition plans for the employees they represent.
SCE also recognizes its continuing safety responsibilities as it moves toward decommissioning of the units. SCE’s top priority will be to ensure a safe, orderly, and compliant retirement of these units. Full retirement of the units prior to decommissioning will take some years in accordance with customary practices. Actual decommissioning will take many years until completion. Such activities will remain subject to the continued oversight of the NRC.

SCE intends to pursue recovery of damages from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the supplier of the replacement steam generators, as well as recovery of amounts under applicable insurance policies.
For updates, please, or follow us on Twitter at and on

San Onofre is jointly owned by SCE (78.21 percent), San Diego Gas & Electric (20 percent) and the city of Riverside (1.79 percent).

About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

Southern California Edison
Media Contact:
Media Relations
Investor Relations Contact:
Scott Cunningham

James P. Avery
Senior Vice President
San Diego Gas & Electric

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UPDATED: Fukushima Lessons for CA – Keep San Onofre Shut Down

Cathy Iwane translates for former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in a public forum on Fukushima lessons for CA

Shut Down San Onofre Movement Gains Momentum
The case against restarting SoCal Edison’s faulty nuclear reactors received a wider hearing June 4th with the webcast by of a public forum entitled Fukushima – Lessons for California. Held in the San Diego City Council chambers, the historic event was organized by Friends of the Earth, Physicians for Social Responsibility and San Clemente Green and was a major step forward in the growing local, state and national campaign to permanently decommission the San Onofre nuclear reactors. Mucho Kudos to the organizers!

The distinguished panel of speakers was headed by former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was in office at the start of the on-going Fukushima disaster.

In addition to Prime Minister Kan (ably translated by Cathy Iwane), speakers included:
Gregory Jaczko, Former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates; Peter A. Bradford, former member of the NRC; and Kendra Ulrich, Friends of the Earth, Nuclear Expert.

The Friends of the Earth Synopsis of the seminar is here.

Full video series of the symposium is here. (recorded by Ray Lutz)

Here are excerpts of the webcast captured and re-posted by EON as a public service. Please circulate widely. Scroll down for links to press coverage and critical analysis by Roger Herried.

Friends of the Earth’s Kendra Ulrich gave a succinct analysis of current developments in the decommissioning push, pointing out that restarting Unit 2 at partial power to test SCE’s hypothesis that it can be done ‘safely’ would constitute an experiment involving the unconsenting 8.7 million human subjects who live in the surrounding densely populated urban area.

Naoto Kan, Former Prime Minister of Japan [Thanks to San Clemente Green for the following bios.]
In 2011, Mr. Kan was Japan’s Prime Minister during the Fukushima nuclear disaster. At one point Japan faced a situation where there was a chance that people might not be able to live in the capital zone including Tokyo and would have to evacuate. Mr. Kan declared the need for Japan to end its reliance on atomic power and promote renewable sources of energy, such as solar that have long taken a back seat in the resource-poor country’s energy mix. Mr. Kan resigned as Prime Minister in August 2011 and now serves the Democratic Party of Japan to garner support for alternative energy policies.

Gregory Jaczko, Former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Mr. Jaczko was first sworn in as a Commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on January 21, 2005. On May 13, 2009, President Obama designated him the organization’s Chairman. During the Fukushima crisis, Chairman Jaczko recommended that Americans evacuate 50 miles outside Fukushima. On February 9, 2012 Mr. Jaczko cast the lone dissenting vote on plans to build the first new nuclear power plant in more than 30 years when the NRC voted 4-1 to allow Atlanta-based Southern Co. to build and operate two new nuclear power reactors at its existing Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. He cited safety concerns stemming from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, stating, “I cannot support issuing this license as if Fukushima never happened.” His pro-safety stance caused much friction with the other commissioners, resulting in his departure from the NRC. He has since been appointed to a post on a Congressional panel overseeing the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates
Arnold “Arnie” Gundersen is chief engineer of energy consulting company, Fairewinds Associates. Arnie Gundersen has 40-years of nuclear power engineering experience. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where he earned his Bachelor Degree cum laude while also becoming the recipient of a prestigious Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship for his Masters Degree in nuclear engineering. Arnie holds a nuclear safety patent, was a licensed reactor operator, and is a former nuclear industry senior vice president. During his nuclear power industry career, Arnie also managed and coordinated projects at 70-nuclear power plants in the US.

Peter A. Bradford, former member of the NRC
Mr. Bradford was a member of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Three Mile Island accident. He was also the former chair of the New York and Maine utility regulatory commissions, Peter Bradford has taught at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and currently is an Adjunct Professor at Vermont Law School teaching “Nuclear Power and Public Policy”. A member of the China Sustainable Energy Policy Council, he served on a recent panel evaluating the reliability of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Panel advising how best to replace the remaining Chernobyl nuclear plants in Ukraine, a panel on the opening of the Mochovce nuclear power plant in Slovakia, and the Keystone Center collaborative on nuclear power and climate change. He is the author of “Fragile Structures: A Story of Oil Refineries, National Securities and the Coast of Maine” and many articles. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Yale Law School and is Vice Chair of the board of The Union of Concerned Scientists.

Other Media Coverage:

Former Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan, center, walks to the conference with San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, left, and his translator Cathy Iwane, right, and one of the many Japanese press. A gathering of experienced nuclear experts convened a conference in San Diego at the chambers of County Supervisors Tuesday morning. Visiting former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan spoke about the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the lessons for California. Also speaking were Gregory Jaczko, former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Peter A. Bradford, former member of the NRC, Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates and Kendra Ulrich, with Friends of the Earth Nuclear Campaign. — Peggy Peattie

Roger Harried comments:
I’d like to make an addition to the article, about just who the man to the right of PM Kan is holding the camera in the picture.

That happens to be Iori Mochizuki of Fukushima Diary, one of the most prolific bloggers covering the aftermath of Fukushima. He traveled here to the US to attend the 4 hour event and also asked the very question that I also wanted Kan to answer about evacuation of the public.

Kan’s response of course, was that he relied on his experts, that were the usual bunch of industry safety experts. Sadly, Kan stuck by their position, nor did he disclose his own discussions that there were even plans to evacuate Tokyo especially if the event escalated.

In San Diego, Fukushima legacy comes calling
By Morgan Lee7:51 p.m.June 4, 2013 – UT San Diego
Ongoing efforts to restart the plant have been overshadowed by allegations that Edison may have misled regulators about the extent of design changes to replacement generators installed starting in 2009 in order to avoid a more thorough review. Edison says it did not install generators that it believed to be unsafe or unreliable.

Jaczko said a more thorough regulatory review under license amendment procedures might have caught design flaws. Read more

Published on Jun 5, 2013

Clips from Gregory Jaczko’s presentation at the San Diego Seminar — Fukushima Daiichi Disaster: Lessons for California, June 4th, 2013
Video by Ace Hoffman
Accidents do happen: Fmr NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko speaking in San Diego

Ace comments: Note that the full cost to Japan of Fukushima quoted by Jaczko in the clip — $500 billion USD — could be incurred again (and again…) if restarting of the currently-shut reactors in Japan occurs. There is no such thing as a completely safe reactor. There are no safe containment structures, and there are no safe, stable locations for reactors or spent fuel.

The following list of media coverage was compiled and distributed by the Peace Resource Center of San Diego
Please support Their work by becoming a member and/or making a donation!
Great photos of seminar by Mark Thormalen

Other coverage:

Ex-PM Naoto Kan attends anti-nuclear symposium in California
by Faith Aquino – Japan Daily Press
Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan shared his change of paradigm regarding nuclear power during an environmental symposium in California, where an ailing nuclear power plant also stands. He said that what happened in Fukushima in 2011, when he was still Japan’s premier, opened his eyes to the dangers nuclear power brings. Kan even admitted shame for being an instrument of Japan in exporting nuclear technologies. More…

Ex-NRC head Jaczko: San Onofre restart proposal ‘does not instill a lot of confidence’
Ben Bergman – Southern California Public Radio
Gregory Jaczko, who chaired the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from 2009 to 2012, said he has doubts about Edison’s proposal to restart the San Onofre nuclear plant at 70 percent power for five months.
“The approach does not instill a lot of confidence in me,” he said Tuesday in San Diego. “It’s a fairly novel idea to allow a plant to operate at a reduced power level because of a safety issue.”
He said the proposal raises doubts about the nuclear plant’s operations.

Ex-NRC chief: San Onofre restart plan doesn’t instill confidence
By Abby Sewell – LA Times
The former head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Southern California Edison’s plan to restart the darkened San Onofre nuclear plant at reduced power for safety reasons is “not one that instills tremendous confidence in me.” More…

Lessons From Fukushima For San Onofre
By Alison St John – KPBS Radio
…Jaczko said the melt down at Fukushima was a wake-up call that made him realize the industry needs a new way to measure risk. More…

Lessons from Fukushima for San Onofre
Posted by Ken Stone (Editor), June 5, 2013 at 11:23 am
Former NRC chief Gregory Jaczko said the meltdown at Fukushima was a wake-up call that made him realize the industry needs a new way to measure risk. more...

Excellent resources and information about nuclear power

Important Nuclear Safety Event Gets Pitiful Coverage
Comments on the San Diego event that included former Prime Minister Kan – SanO’s big picture

Roger Herried – Abalone Alliance Clearinghouse archivist – Energy Net

On Tuesday, June 4th 2013, the former Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan and the former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Gregory Jaczko, along with Peter Bradford, also a former NRC Commissioner and Arnie Gundersen spoke about the lessons learned at Fukushima and how they might apply to the San Onofre nuclear facility that is located within 50 miles of over 8 million people. Also speaking was Kendra Ulrich from Friends of the Earth that along with Arnie Gundersen has been involved in the legal battle to keep San Onofre from reopening.

The four hour long symposium received no national media attention, and horrible coverage by the Los Angeles Times. Other local coverage was somewhat better, but still mostly censored considering the timely nature of the event. For anyone looking at just how biased the current state of US media coverage has become barely two years after Fukushima, its clear that we are witnessing an intentional agenda of walking away from protecting this country from similar future events. Imagine if a former president of the United States spoke out about a prominent global issue and only had three major media outlets show up, with two of those from Japan.

The event itself was invaluable in that it brought Naoto Kan to speak outside of Japan for the first time since he stepped down as the acting head of Japan during Fukushima, the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Northeast Japan on March 11th 2011. Even though he was a supporter of nuclear power prior to the disaster, Mr. Kan now supports the idea of a nuclear free Japan as well as the development of renewable energy sources to replace all of his country’s nuclear energy.

The timely theme of the event comes at a critical moment as the Southern California Edison, the owner of the San Onofre nuclear facility, has been pushing to reopen unit two of the facility possibly as early as this month. The ongoing controversy over the newly installed steam generators that have forced the twin reactors to stay closed for nearly a year and a half has spurred a campaign to keep the reactors closed for a number of major reasons, highlighted by strong possibility that what happened at Fukushima could happen at San Onofre.

Rather than attempt to summarize Prime Minister Kan’s presentation first, since it largely about his own personal experience in dealing with events surrounding Fukushima, it was Gregory Jaczko’s presentation that could have made a difference in the current debate around San Onofre. Sadly, that didn’t happen, even though there were a number of important general issues he did speak to. The most important comment he did make was his concern about how complex computer models are being used to evaluate the probability of events to rationalize against doing anything about severe events similar to Fukushima. He also believes that the industry should not doing any further licensing of reactors until twelve major recommendations of changes to the current safety regime is done. And of primary concern the agency’s current procedure of making safety changes at reactors voluntary rather than mandatory! The next most important concern he had was that extending the operations of current fleet of aging reactors beyond their original licenses should be reconsidered. During the question and answer session he pointed out that the NRC should not have allowed such a major modification of critical equipment as the replacement of the steam generators in the procedural manner that it did.

Gregory also went onto to describe the agency’s order calling for all Americans within 50 miles of Fukushima to evacuate more as a travel advisory in nature when asked why similar rules are not part of US regulations here that only require mandatory evacuations out to 10 miles. Even though his comments are significant, including his acknowledgement of the human costs of Fukushima and that the American Nuclear Society has estimated the disaster costs at $500 billion, there was much that wasn’t said, including far stronger language. His acknowledgement of our version of Japan’s “Nuclear Village” was clearly a major letdown. The term “Nuclear Village” in Japan goes to the heart of the Japan’s own investigation into what happened at Fukushima and not mentioned at all by Prime Minister Kan or Mr. Jaczko! In July of 2012, the 6 month long government investigation done by Japan’s legislative body (Diet) stated that it was the Nuclear Industry’s control over all regulatory agencies – that led to lax safety procedures was the root cause of the Fukushima disaster. Thus the term “Nuclear Village” where a regulated industry has almost complete control over the government’s regulatory authority of itself.

It would be former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford who would properly frame the current state of affairs with our own “Nuclear Village”, giving details of how the industry controlled NRC has gutted the ability of the public to participate in the regulatory process. Let alone all but dictates how the agency runs, as seen by a recent congressional letter threatening the Commissioners if they attempted to push too hard on safety issues from Fukushima that was initiated by Jaczko. Peter’s presentation also detailed the fact that collapse of the highly touted “Nuclear Renaissance” in the US has died on economic grounds. As demonstrated by decision to close two facilities this year and the abandonment of most of the reactors that were announced after former President Bush and congress handed the industry $13 billion in 2005 and additional $18 billion in federal loan guarantees.

It is very important that Arnie Gundersen made his presentation on why San Onofre should not be allowed to conduct go back online as well as the controversy about how its owner had snuck through the steam generator replacements that are estimated to have cost the region over $1 billion which is now being investigated by the California Public Utilities Commission as to whether or not ratepayers or Southern California Edison should be responsible for paying. Especially since Senator Boxer’s call for a criminal investigation of the matter of the company intentionally lying to the government.

However, there was no presentation about the real dangers of what the region faces if there is a major earthquake and meltdown at San Onofre. Just as the people of Japan were told for decades, that such an event could never happen, but did, Southern Californian’s have also been spoon fed the exact same claim. And unlike the situation in Japan, there is a massive population far closer and directly downwind of San Onofre. And of course, what is of most concern is the fact that the potential of such a Fukushima repeat isn’t just a remote possibility, but has been on the radar as a very serious concern by the California Energy Commission for over five years.

However, as anyone close to the issue knows, the NRC has exclusive authority over all reactors in the US, thus resulting in the owners of state’s nuclear facilities long ignoring their own legal authority as granted by state law. As clearly stated by Peter Bradford during the event, California’s unique regulatory relationship with the NRC goes far deeper. In fact, there is no other example known where a regulatory body has been caught breaking its own rules but was then protected by the US court system to continue on with its legal activities has is the case with NRC’s illegal and original licensing of both Diablo Canyon and San Onofre.

California is the 2nd most seismically active region in North America literally being hit around the clock with earthquakes every day of the year. In fact Southern California experts believe that the region is 150 years overdue for the next major quake, which is defined as event registering 6.7 or greater on the Richter scale or greater. The USGS says that there is a 97% chance of such an event in the next 30 years, having released impacts studies of what would happen if a 7.8 quake hit the region. They have withheld details of impacts of large quakes. And in the light of the previously thought impossible mega-quake that hit Japan in 2011, have failed to publicly acknowledge that at least one geologist that has been living on the San Andreas has said there is evidence of much greater historic quakes.

Yet, even with the state’s historic relationship with major earthquakes, a cavalier attitude has been in place by both the companies and oversight agencies that have all but failed in their original agenda to make California the home of nuclear power, where the country’s largest promoter – General Electric used to have its nuclear division headquartered, which has since moved to Japan. by the mid 1960′s Pacific Gas & Electric was promoting plans to build over 60 reactors in the state but resulted in the first successful movement to stop reactors anywhere, resulting in only the two operating facilities today.

In fact, when the reactors in California were licensed to operate in 1984, the NRC broke its own regulations when it intentionally did not consider the complicating effects of earthquakes on evacuation planning for a nuclear disaster. In fact, an upset NRC Commissioner intentionally leaked the secret minutes of the agency’s decision to ignore its own regulations. This led to a dramatic 2 year legal war that ended in a 5 to 4 vote by federal judges, with all the modern conservative stars of today’s Supreme Court involved. The ring leader was none other than Judge Robert Bork of the infamous Saturday Night Massacre, the only person Richard Nixon could find that was willing to fire the country’s attorney general in an attempt to stop the release of the Watergate Tapes. It was Bork who would rule that looking at the leaked transcripts would be tantamount to judicial activism. Thus to this day, the public can look at these documents that show how the agency lies to the public as well as broke its own rules rather than allow public hearings over emergency planing prior to licensing not just at Diablo Canyon but also for San Onofre! Because of Bork, we have no legal recourse to use the documents, but anyone can see our “Nuclear Village” at work and the power it wields!

Far more urgent today is the fact that when, rather than if such a major quake does happen, the public will not be prepared to deal such a disaster that could be far worse than what happened in Japan! And here we have on June 4th, an all but uncovered event, where the former head of the NRC says that the methodology in this country for estimating the chances of such an event should be dismantled and replaced with real plans or in this case, not his words, keep it shut down.

If the coming earthquake is sufficiently large to damage San Onofre, it would also be big enough to damage or destroy any number of the 30 plus aging dams and reservoirs in the area that would be potentially be as devastating to much of Orange County as the Tsunami was to the coast of Japan after 311. Furthermore, the region also has nearly 7 months a year where it is under high alert for fire, for example nearly a million people had to be evacuated in 2007 due to fires. But combine this with broken natural gas lines during a serious quake as seen during Fukushima, broken water mains and at least 1,600 estimated fires that will break out as estimated by seismic experts in just a 7.8 quake and you have a living nightmare. Yet, this is only the start of what will come.

The current emergency plans for a nuclear crisis mandates staged evacuations in the 10 mile zone only, with estimates that it could take up to 17 hours to accomplish. In such a scenario state earthquake and liquefaction maps for the area show that all evacuation routes would be compromised by landslides, or downed overpasses of which there are over a 1000 of in Los Angeles alone. The entire region will be facing an innate urge to flee from radiation without any previous preparation.

Contrary to what former NRC Chairman Jackzo said as well as Prime Minister Kan said about following the orders of emergency planners in case of a meltdown, the following issues make what they are saying ludicrous if not insane in the case of San Onofre:

The current emergency plan in place for the public farther than 10 miles away from San Onofre is to shelter everyone. That’s right, you will be told to go indoors and shut your windows – stay off the roads and don’t flee! After the above 7.8 earthquake, the USGS has estimated that over a half million homes, and other buildings will be damaged or destroyed. For anyone who has ever experiences a major quake, the very last thing they will be willing to do is stay inside a building that could potentially fall down and kill them in the hours and days following the initial quake. Furthermore, there will be an even greater number of shattered windows that will all but preclude the public from keeping radiation from getting into their homes.

As demonstrated in what happened during the Three Mile Island disaster in 1979 when an order for just over 5,000 women and children to evacuate were given, instead over 140,000 people did so in the rural area surrounding the damaged reactor. Even more disturbing is the fact in numerous studies there have been shown that there are serious problems about Shadow Evacuations of people who would complicate the emergency plans to remove just the public closest to the facility. With the latest report on this being the buried Government Accountability Office’s report released overshadowed by the NRC’s own announcement of its plans to go ahead with okaying a restart at San Onofre.

And of course, during the last emergency hearings done by the state over 20 years ago, the strategy of using police to keep people from evacuating onto freeways in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego where so many people live would result as some suggest in the police being some of the first victims as people attempt to flee onto the freeways to get away.

In the only known investigation ever done by California in 1980, it was shown that most of Orange County would shoulder the brunt of the fallout. Today there are over 3 million people living in the county with over five more million living a few more hours away in Los Angeles and San Diego. On an average day it would take between 2-4 hours for the radiation to blanket Orange County and 7-10 hours to cover Los Angeles. There is no conceivable chance that nearly 8 million people would stay in their homes, or for that matter be able to flee. Or more to the point, millions of people would be trapped, possibly facing damaged homes, fires or tsunami like flooding all at the same time. As seen with Katrina debacle in 2005, emergency planners themselves will be unable to respond at the time most needed, or be in a position to move millions of people out of way of radiation.

So what should have been communicated at the “Fukushima Lesson’s Learned” symposium is that:

Southern California is 150 years overdue for a major quake;
It is inappropriate to tell the public that there is a slim chance of a major nuclear incident;

The California Energy Commission has ordered more investigations because it is unclear if San Onofre could withstand the maximum credible earthquake

The local emergency planning body in charge of planning meets in secret as well as intentionally reduced the mandatory evacuation zone around San Onofre to just two miles

The Government is at this moment replacing the current Protective Action Guidelines that determine when the public should evacuate with new ones that don’t acknowledge that safely evacuating the public in such an event near a major city is impossible.

The agencies protecting the public still don’t acknowledge that the fact that the 2011 earthquake was never suppose to happen!

Both the Japanese and American public were lied to intentionally to allow for the development of nuclear energy in places it should have never been considered!

An earthquake greater than 7.5 would likely result in a loss of power and meltdown at San Onofre

If the largest fault, the San Andreas, which is less than 100 miles away were to produce a quake greater than 8.3 it would result a catastrophe at San Onofre

A big quake on San Andreas would set off aftershocks across the region and within a few miles of San Onofre, possibly even a Tsunami that could be larger than planned for.

Such a major event would destroy the biggest breadbasket of the entire US as just beyond Los Angeles is the country’s main agricultural area.

Los Angeles is also a trillion dollar economy beside having a similar amount of private property that is not insured from either nuclear accidents or earthquakes.

Most the country is barely aware of the fact that the region just beyond Los Angeles also happens to be the bread basket of the US producing much of this country’s produce, has the largest shipping port on the west coast has over a trillion dollar in private real estate in the region almost none of which would be protected from either earthquake or nuclear insurance.

Such an event would very likely make the following economic depressions of the past look like child’s play with this country, and all just to keep the stockholders of one company happy.

San Onofre should not be allowed to reopen simply because the human and economic consequences are too great.

Roger Herried
Abalone Alliance Clearinghouse archivist
Energy Net

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