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San Onofre #2 Most Vulnerable Nuclear Site

March 17, 2011

Daily Beast: Most Vulnerable Nuclear Sites: click here for entire list

I have lived in San Diego since 1959. It is no surprise for those of us who live in SoCal that San Onofre is #2 on the most vulnerable nuclear plants in America. We know the risk AND many of us wish we did not have to live with this kind of perpetual PRIVATE INDUSTRY threat! The plant is old. It is dangerous. It is subject to a major earthquake and tsunamis. After 9/11 it was assessed that it could withstand a 747 jetliner impact. I seriously doubt that.

7.4 million people live within 50 miles of the San Onofre plant. Can you imagine a evacuation from this area? Anybody who lives down here knows we have basically two main routes out of the area: North-South: Interstate 5 and Pacific Coast Highway. East-West roads would be overwhelmed if we sustained a 8.0 or larger quake. A tsunami would inundate all routes almost immediately due to the regular high volume of traffic along the coastal highways and roads.

There is no doubt in my mind that San Onofre plant should be closed ASAP.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D) California, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works appeared on MSNBC tonite to discuss the issues surrounding U.S. nuclear energy. Her interview with Laurence O’Donnell will be up on the site tomorrow.

Related: Beyond Nuclear.org. click here

March 2006 article on safety of U.S. nuclear power plants in Truth Out.org

Exelon and the NRC say a 1998 spill of 3 million gallons

of tritium – a form of hydrogen that becomes radioactive water when it contacts air – did contaminate ground water that breached the Braidwood plant boundary. But the radioactivity had not risen above federal limits where people live or have their drinking water wells.

At Dresden, the 276,000-gallon (1 million-liter) tritium leak is still on-site, and the spill at Byron was found inside concrete vaults along an effluent pipe.

The plants are all within 100 miles of Chicago in northern Illinois, which has the largest nuclear capacity of any U.S. state, about equal to Great Britain’s.

The spilled tritium was destined to be discharged as effluent in rivers anyway, authorities said, and they were not explicitly required to notify the public about it – a reporting loophole Illinois congressmen want closed.

“It’s not like people are going to start dropping like flies from this level of radiation,” said Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.

“What I am alarmed by is the number of years it has taken, and how lax the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been, and how lax the corporation has been in informing the community fully” about the spills, he said.

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