Thursday, June 26, 2008

24 Reasons to Shut San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station TODAY, not Tomorrow! (Expanded Version)

June 26th, 2008

Dear Readers,

Thanks to NucNews and MWC (Media With Conscience) for publishing my "24 Reasons" essay. Thanks also to Helen Caldicott and Joseph J. Mangano for their kind words about the essay.

This version includes footnotes for each section (at the end of the document). This version was mailed to about thirty elected officials, and also included my May 5, 2008 and April 28, 2008 newsletters. I have removed the CAPS which were used in the previous version of the "24 reasons" essay. Also, the cover letters for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the other elected officials are included (below, top items).

Warmest regards,

Ace

Included below:
Letter to CA's Governor
Letter to elected officials
Statement to CPUC

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To: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
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June 26th, 2008

Dear Mr. Governor,

At the CPUC hearing in San Clemente on June 19, 2008, administrative law judge Carol Brown told the public, in no uncertain terms, that if we want proper action by the state about nuclear power, writing to you is one of the most important steps.

We were told that if "the Terminator" can be convinced to terminate nuclear power, he'll do it.

Well, Mr. Governor, here are 24 reasons to shut down California's nuclear power plants, and each one is good enough on its own. Rejecting nuclear power is an important priority for the world and for California, and we must take a leadership role. We should all be pro-DNA activists. (And please don't call it the "anti-nuclear" viewpoint anymore. It's all about the DNA. That's where the focus must be.)

But instead, our presidential hopefuls are, at best, confused on the issue. Obama tries not to say much about nuclear power at all, but has claimed: "There is no perfect energy source ... I have not ruled out nuclear as part of that package, but only so far, as it is clean and safe."

Nuclear power will never be "clean and safe."

Obama's home state of Illinois has 11 operating reactors and several totally dilapidated (that is, closed) ones. About half of Illinois' electricity is produced by the remaining reactors there, which could easily be replaced with Illinois wind power alone (and Illinois is barely even in the top 20 states for wind power production).

Meanwhile, Obama blasts John McCain's proposal that America should build "45 nuclear power plants by 2030" (and another 55 soon thereafter) as unrealistic without a "waste disposal or recycling plan." What Obama misses is that there won't be any safe solution, ever, to the waste problem. Nuclear waste will always be a danger to life, it will always have to be isolated, it will always break down its containment, it will always cost money to protect us from it. That's the way it is.

Consider the waste from the world's oldest power reactor -- from Shippingport, Pennsylvania (just 25 miles from Pittsburgh), which opened 50 years ago last month (it opened May 26th, 1958). I certainly didn't notice the nuclear industry drawing attention to its golden anniversary, did you? I don't wonder why not, knowing something of the history of Shippingport. It was small (60 megawatts), extremely inefficient, dangerous, and problematic. After 20 years of operation (not counting extensive periods of downtime), they redesigned the reactor, in order to create plutonium, and ran it for another five years.

Aided all along by massive subsidies and with all the R&D paid for by Westinghouse (the reactor's builder), Shippingport made money for its owners, all the while piling up radioactive waste. I can find you plenty of sworn testimony from nuclear experts who can explain how dangerous that plant was.

Shippingport's been decommissioned (hauled off to various places in pieces, and washed down the Ohio River in crumbs) and hasn't produced a watt of electricity in over 25 years.

But Shippingport's fuel rods are still irradiating and destroying their containers, which will have to be rebuilt every so often, and guarded constantly, and eventually will need to be moved again, perhaps several times. Taxpayer's pockets are still being raided to pay for it all. The waste is still approximately as dangerous as it was the day it was removed from the reactor, because a full spectrum of fission products and activation products, as well as uranium and plutonium and so on, still remain locked up (unsafely) within it.

And nobody knows what to do with that waste. Even the reactor pressure vessel is hazardous waste -- it was simply hauled across the country to Hanford, Washington and dumped in a trench, to rust away over the years, and this is considered a "model for the industry."

Shippingport hasn't lit a single light bulb in decades. Its remains remain a problem. So what's to celebrate? The nuclear industry got THAT right!

Do you think Americans would have bought into the lie if they had known that, 60 years into reactor technology and 50 years into so-called commercial reactors, there would still be no solution to the waste problem, just lots of hot air produced, some of it radioactive, some of it just more lies from politicians?

America should close all 104 operating nuclear power plants. California could set an example by immediately closing our four deadly behemoths and be done with this nightmare here -- except for figuring out what to do with the waste. Have you got any practical ideas on that? Of course not! After all, it's not your area of expertise, right? But guess what? Nobody -- not one living soul -- has a practical idea of what to do, what it will cost, how often it will fail, or how badly.

Workers at the plants are not "experts." They have a vested interest and a very narrow focus, and in all cases I have found, they have only a limited education about the relevant subjects, except in their own specific, narrow professional area. The federal agencies (DOE, NRC) are filled with cross-pollination from the industry (which provides more than 90% of the cash for their salaries) and are mandated with promoting the nuclear industry, regardless of whether it's really better for society or not (it isn't).

That leaves the rest of us to figure out the truth. And if I figure it out, I'm obliged to tell you. That's my duty as a citizen. That's the purpose of this letter. I'm risking a lot to write this letter. My reputation, my integrity, my freedom. It is illegal to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater unless, of course, there really is a fire. You will start a stampede, and that can land you a disorderly conduct charge, inciting a riot, and, if you then lie to the investigators, perjury charges can also be added.

Similarly, if I am lying, or exaggerating, or even just plain wrong, this letter would be exactly like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater where there is no fire. It is being sent to hundreds of people. Others may publish it for thousands to read. I'm screaming bloody murder, in the literal sense of the words. But somewhere in the conduit between me and you, in the communication between constituent and elected official, the truth must be conveyed, or we do not live in a democracy. I MUST write this letter, and this letter comes to you straight from the heart.

Please don't be fooled by the laymen's terminology I use, it's how I speak, but even your "best" pro-nuclear scientists will not be able to respond coherently. And if they pretend to, then let me read the responses and rebutt each one. I'll take any of your so-called "experts" on; I'll take all of them on (I have a team of experts on call too, though this letter is, of course, my own). Let me cross-examine my detractors under oath for you, so you can see that their arguments are hollow. Their arguments will be hollow, for there is nothing that can be done with the waste. It is a scientific truism: The weakest radioactive particle can break apart the strongest chemical bond known. It will do its destruction in a random direction -- destroying order. Structure, design, patterns, knowledge, complex protein molecules made of thousands of precisely-placed atoms -- radiation can knock just one of those atoms out of alignment and ruin the structure, or even turn it poisonous.

Radiation destroys information, whether it's the "information" stored in the complex intermingling of atoms in some amazing new "super" alloy, or the nano-blitzo-computer gizmo that puts the Internet in your pocket. And the nation's top doctors won't use cell phones. Doesn't that tell us all something?

A DNA strand is a biological wonder of compactness and replicability of information. Your DNA is made of billions of precisely-sequenced atoms, replicated about a hundred trillion times, which define you and which are easily destroyed by radiation.

Repair after damage, when possible, is rarely perfect. My bladder worked fine for half a century without cancer. Then one day I'm pissing blood. Doc said at my age it was probably just an infection. Drink a lot of water. Take these pills -- that inspection is nasty, so if you don't keep seeing blood, don't worry about it, he said.

Drinking all that water, I didn't see blood as often, and waited several months before becoming convinced the problem wasn't going away. Instead, globules of coagulated blood started dropping out with the urine.

It took the urologist about 30 seconds to find the cancer, and three days later he removed it. It was about the size of my thumb (maybe half the size of your pinky). It was tree-shaped, growing into my bladder from just a single stump.

The doctor cut it off, and then scraped out a layer of bladder cells to be tested for cancer, to be sure he got the whole thing. I'm still here 10 months later, and cancer-free as of my last inspection, so it appears that he did.

No radiation or chemotherapy was necessary, although I did have a follow-up CT-SCAN. The surgeon's knife, in his skilled hand, cut the cancer out, without piercing the bladder wall. Thank God for anesthesia. I woke up and it was over, and I try to remember to thank the doctor each time I visit, for another 90 days of life.

Who says nukes are "high tech" anyway? I say, the guy who can shrink that urologist's scope down by just half a millimeter in diameter would get my vote for Man of the Year! I'm only 51. With my family history, I'm looking at possibly -- if I'm lucky -- 200 of those inspections in the coming years. Thanks to the DNA of one cell of the 100 trillion cells in my body going bad once. One particle of radiation may have started the whole chain of events.

We are each so very unique, but we are each so very fragile. Even you, but especially everyone else.

The bladder takes a lot of punishment from a bad environment. Everything your body uses and / or rejects, everything that gets past the boundaries of the intestine or the lungs, is probably going to be expelled through the bladder. One doesn't think about it, but the living wall of your bladder is bathed in poisonous environmental chemicals all the time. And as a consequence, it can be the root source of many other tumors which can occur throughout the body.

At the molecular level, our bodies are far more complicated than any human-made machine. Even nanobots will be thousands of times less complicated than our own biological structures -- our DNA, our cells, the proteins those cells make, our bones, our tendons -- there is no better machine than us. Nothing is more adaptable to its environment than we are, with the proper -- and I stress proper -- use of tools. (Or perhaps I should say, with the use of proper tools.)

But radiation defeats us. The randomness of the direction of the radioactive emission makes useful work with the ejected energy / particle nearly impossible -- we can harness the heat that results when the radioactive particle crashes into other particles, but we have found little else we can do, because we cannot predict its time or direction in any way, nor can we predict its exact force within a large range.

Information is orderly. Nuclear destruction, on the other hand, is untimely and unpredictable. It is disorderly. Radiation cannot be detected by any human sense organ, even in 100% fatal dose levels. Nor can it be detected by any common household device. People must rely on government for protection. There is no other choice.

When irradiated steel is later recycled and then used in electronic devices, the radioactive decays can destroy the electronic signals, the gates, and so on, and this will be even more true as computer chips get smaller and smaller and the number of fission products in the environment goes up and up. When irradiated steel is recycled into children's braces, it irradiates their young gums.

What harm does radiation do to the electrical system of our heart, if a tiny, microscopic radioactive object is accidentally embedded there, which ejects radioactive particles by the thousands or millions, each day, into one small area? What about the nearly microscopic heart of an early fetus? What harm does radiation do there?

And, from a statistical standpoint, does it matter if one small area is constantly irradiated, or if the radioactive particle travels throughout the body, leaving a microscopic killing trail of cells (and some only damaged, which may become cancerous)? And does it matter if the one particle breaks up into a million smaller particles, which then spread throughout the body?

Where is radiation in the environment and children a good mix? Nowhere, of course. Yet, radioactive isotopes of common elements are being constantly spewed into their air, soil and water. New fission products which, before the nuclear age, barely existed at all on God's Green Earth, are being created and released in vast, lethal quantities.

Risk assessment is, by definition, an inexact science (statistics is, after all, "never having to say you are certain"). And it is especially inexact regarding rare events.

And the risk, whatever it is, is being taken for the most replaceable of things -- something we can find other sources for: It is being taken merely for electricity, a vital tool of the human race, yes -- but with more ways to produce it than any other tool in history.

Why are we glued to old, inefficient technology to solve our energy needs? Why do we ignore so many other, safer choices? It's not cost-effective for society, that's for sure. And it's not safe, that's been shown a thousand times over. A thousand different near-misses at nuclear power plants have not shown that all the safety systems will always work as designed. Instead, they've proven that we needed all the safety systems the activists demanded years ago! All the near-misses also show that the potential for many more near-misses is enormous. And they show that the potential for catastrophic accidents is ALSO enormous. They also prove that the reactor designs are complex and prone to failure, the systems are not robust, the facilities are not safely regulated or operated, and the federal and industry assurances otherwise are not accurate.

No matter how close a miss the industry has -- Davis-Besse 2002, Three Mile Island 1979, Brown's Ferry 1975, etc. etc. -- it's never called a "near-catastrophe" even though in many cases that's exactly what it was. No: They are simply called "learning experiences." Haven't we learned enough?

A meltdown in America in inevitable if we don't close the nukes. (Repeat that last sentence for emphasis as often as necessary.) And really: Nukes aren't even technologically advanced. Most reactors are decades old and show it, but even new reactor designs create the same extremely hazardous waste, which no sane engineer, economist, medical doctor, politician (or anyone else) knows what to do with. Like the old designs, all the new designs also have the potential to fail catastrophically, releasing their contents to the environment.

WHY is society stuck on using nuclear technology to light our LED bulbs?

The answer is: Because timid leaders let greedy people make tons of money causing cancer in the community. Most of the costs are hidden, and so it's very profitable for the operators. That, and just plain inertia. We don't know how to get off the nuclear death-train. Or maybe we really do think the ride is worth the crash at the end. Are we that short-sighted?

We must use our intellect to solve this problem.

Radiation might give us cancer, but it won't leave a calling card if it does. It might have caused my own bladder cancer, but no one can say for sure.

Radioactive fission products in the environment don't do anything good for children, for me, for California's citizens, or for society at large. And the waste keeps piling up on our coast. If you're so strong (as they claim), then for God's sake, do something! Stop promoting the Demon Hot Atom (as I like to call it, for the name is apt in so many ways) in your speeches. But that's hardly enough. You need to use your power to shut San Onofre and Diablo Canyon immediately and forever. Don't be afraid to change your mind on important issues -- it's never too late to learn! Many others have done it before you.

There are many good scientists who can advise you correctly on these matters, and millions of concerned citizens have also studied the issues. But most people don't know the facts.

Please read the enclosed material. You cannot find the scientist who can solve the nuclear industry's many problems I have outlined. I don't think you can even find any scientist who will publicly (so that I can rebutt it) condemn anything I have written in his area of expertise and provide specific proof that I am wrong (let alone, do so under oath). In fact, good luck even finding anyone who is able to prove that a single significant statement I have presented here is wrong.

Certainly, we all make mistakes. But deliberate ignorance in negligence, and pro-nukers don't cross-check their work properly. I cross-check my ideas as many ways as I can, and I correct any errors when they creep in, as soon as possible. By constantly cross-checking my theories against all available relevant facts, I am confident that my overall conclusion is accurate. Furthermore, millions of people read my essays online, and yet not one pro-nuker has ever been able to win any reasonable debate, ever. Not one.

For years, I have welcomed anyone who can prove me wrong to try to do so. I'd love to be wrong. But it seems statistically extremely unlikely.

So I'm probably right, in which case, we're all in big trouble.

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Author, animator, computer programmer
PO Box 1936
Carlsbad, CA 92018

Included: CPUC submission, June 19, 2008; letter to various elected officials

Notes:

"Of the total 16,820 MW of U.S. installed wind capacity, 85 percent -- or 14,240 MW -- have been installed since President Bush took office in January 2001." (as of February 25, 2008) Source: http://www.doe.gov/news/6010.htm

"Wind projects accounted for 35% of all new electric generating capacity added in the U.S. in 2007." Source: http://www.csemag.com/article/CA6565367.html

"No moving parts to break, a 25 year guarantee, and an annual savings of over $10,000 ... what is not to like," -- Ken Leinbach, Executive Director of Urban Ecology Center, on his organization's new solar roof in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (January, 2007). Source: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/partner/story?id=47251

"The science is incomplete, unsound, and it is clear that Yucca Mountain is not a safe site for storing nuclear waste. The Yucca Mountain project has been on life support for a long time, and I am working hard to finally put an end to it. The Yucca Mountain project is decades behind schedule and tens of billions of dollars over budget. . . . Instead of wasting up to $100 billion to construct a nuclear waste dump in Nevada, I am working to require nuclear power plants to store waste on site where it was produced." -- Senator Harry Reid, in a letter to constituent Nikoli McCracken, June, 23rd, 2008

The Obama quote can be found here: http://www.newsweek.com/id/142500/output/print

Shippingport RPV disposal considered a model for the industry:
http://www.sethshulman.com/downloads/Articles/reactor-funeral.pdf

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To: Elected Officials
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Subject: The endless river of gold...

June 26th, 2008

Dear Elected Official,

Although I am not a resident of your district, the matter I am writing about is of concern to all citizens of the United States, and globally. Nearly all the points apply to any nuclear power plant (not just San Onofre), including Diablo Canyon and all the rest.

I have studied these issues for more than 35 years. I have looked at alternative energy solutions and concluded they are abundant and cost-effective. That's not the problem.

One of the main problems is the utility (Southern California Edison). SCE is spending -- and asking ratepayers to finance -- billions of dollars on San Onofre, so that it will produce nuclear waste for a few more decades. Meanwhile, nationwide, all utilities fiercely fight "net metering" and don't want reverse metering, feed-in metering, or anything like that at all.

These two forces reinforce each other, thus blocking alternative energy solutions.

Currently, many people who could produce more energy than they need will not do so, since there is nowhere to sell the excess energy at any price. Utilities should be forced to buy clean energy, even at a premium price -- up to market value -- meaning, if you could buy it from your neighbor at an agreed-upon price, the utility's sole purpose would be to convey the juice. They are deathly afraid of that future. But the reality of renewable energy is that, inevitably, the supply is produced by many owners, and the utility's job is relegated to managing the load -- a very important job. Right now, the legal arrangement allows them to use dangerous solutions even though clean energy is available. And as to "emergency" and "baseline" power, nukes are not good for either of these. Hospitals all have emergency backup generators, and even nuclear power plants require emergency generators. With a distributed, varied, properly-managed renewable energy grid, we would all have reliable power. And technologically, that's totally possible today.

SCE makes a lot of noise these days about their solar roof initiative. But they've cherry-picked the best commercial roof-top solar locations, locked up contracts, and actually only plan to install an average of just one megawatt per week. That won't do. The entire initiative is woefully underfunded and half-hearted. In five years, if nothing slows their pace, only a small fraction (<5%) of the commercial rooftops in Southern California will have solar panels, and no residential roofs will have been paneled. How can anyone even call that trying? It tries our patience, that's all!

Every solar roof panel, every wave energy wonder, every fascinating and wondrous renewable energy system that exists, helps save the country. Saves it from the "compound interest" of nuclear fuel storage costs (doubly compounded, because when it leaks out, it costs the human species in cancers and other health effects). There is nothing more counter-productive in the universe than a fully-trained human being who is struck down by disease and becomes unable to help society, or who even becomes a burden.

On a daily basis, nuclear power plants leak fission products or simply discard them into our food, air, and water. This happens regularly in dangerously-large amounts (there is no minimum dose for radiation), and in catastrophic amounts whenever there is an accident.

In addition to halting the growth of the nuclear waste problem, renewable energy saves us from the air pollution created by burning coal. It saves us from our own excess. It lets us give our children the great land that we inherited from our parents, who stole it from the Indians.

The utility companies are greedy. Nuclear power is a dead-end: It's nature's cruelest joke; science's biggest irony. It's God's doorway to Hell. Sure, anyone can split atoms to heat water to make steam to turn turbines to produce electricity. And lots of countries and other states do. But they, too, produce fission products and poison our environment terribly. Two wrongs don't make a right. 440 wrongs make a global disaster.

It's time for society to realize that science can only save us if it is unbiased, honest, forthright, open, democratic, humanistic and humane. The true solution to our future energy needs is clear: Renewables -- that's where the endless river of gold is.

Please read the additional enclosed essays and articles for more information.

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
PO Box 1936
Carlsbad, CA 92018

Included: CPUC submission; letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger


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24 reasons to Shut San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station TODAY, not Tomorrow!
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1) Diablo Canyon's operators have stated that they feel terrorists would be much more likely to strike San Onofre, and that is one of the factors making them feel safe from terrorism. If there's any truth to their opinion, the correct response is surely to shut San Onofre!

2) Spokespersons for San Onofre have lied for decades. Upon complaining to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about numerous blatant lies, an activist received the following written response from the NRC: "Statements made by the public affairs officer of a NRC licensee are not regulated activities. Therefore, the veracity of such statements will not be investigated by the NRC." So nuclear industry spokespersons will just go on lying to the media, to the government, and to the public. To cite just one example, in June, 2001, the day one of the San Onofre reactors went back online after a four-month-long shutdown following a fire, workers improperly rigged, and then dropped, an 80,000-pound crane about four stories inside the turbine room, nearly killing at least one worker. The incident was covered up, and the plant's spokesperson was shown on local television that very day, responding to a question unrelated to the crane drop, saying that activists: "don't understand the laws of physics."

3) San Onofre is an accident-waiting-to-happen. Chernobyl is a symbol the world over of the worst possible industrial accident. More than 22 years later, the list of health effects from Chernobyl continues to grow. Deformities among plants, animals and humans are the subject of an entire museum and a research institute near the site. But not too near. There is a 1200-square mile exclusion zone around Chernobyl, which is expected to remain for the foreseeable future, and which many scientists feel is woefully small. Animals (and some people) enter the exclusion zone through holes in fences, or by just flying, jumping, or climbing over it, or burrowing under it. The U.S. nuclear industry claims only 29 people died because of Chernobyl, but the real figure is probably over 100,000! In 2002, the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio nearly melted down -- it was perhaps just minutes -- or at most a month or two -- away from a potentially catastrophic LOCA (Loss of Coolant Accident). Three Mile Island's 1979 partial meltdown is a better-known, but much older, example. Society tends to forget, or just doesn't know, that it can happen here, too. San Onofre makes us ALL unnecessarily vulnerable.

4) After 9-11-2001, San Onofre's spokespeople, and the rest of the nuclear industry, immediately and inaccurately claimed that nuclear power plant containment domes can withstand the force of a jetliner crashing into them. The domes weren't actually designed to do this. (They were designed to withstand the force of a steam explosion from within.) A few weeks later the nuclear industry was forced to back off their specious claim, because unbiased engineers could easily prove it was inaccurate, especially if an engine turbine shaft crashed into the top portion of the dome, perhaps as the result of a steep, suicidal dive. But that lie was replaced by other lies. For example, the lie that our skies are completely protected now, and no American jet could ever be hijacked, ever again! And what about private jets, which can be just as big as commercial planes, and can be rented for a wad of cash? The truth is, even if the domes were jetliner-proof (which they aren't), a far worse accident awaits if the spent fuel pools or dry cask storage systems are breached -- and again, the industry will lie and tell us these are also safe from jetliners, but they aren't even close. And the control rooms, and the backup diesel generators, and the coolant intakes, and the offsite power lines, and so on -- all are vital parts of a nuclear power plant, but none of them are safe from jetliner crashes -- accidental OR intentional. So San Onofre is an accident waiting to happen and its spokespersons are liars.

5) Right now, San Onofre is undergoing enormous retrofitting. Its steam generators are being replaced, as are several other major parts and thousands of smaller parts. But billions of dollars worth of parts will not be replaced: Pipes, pumps, valves, vessels, control cables, actuators, motors, sensors, power cables, data transmission cables, fireproof insulation, steel supports, gantrys, cranes, old thinking. Retrofitting these reactors instead of building completely new ones saves billions of dollars for Edison International (SCE's parent corporation) and avoids a public relations nightmare. But endless retrofitting also means some critical systems will be half a century old, or even older. The need to replace the steam generators surprised the nuclear industry, as have the failures of many other parts of our nation's nuclear reactors. Are all the old parts that need to be replaced going to be replaced? Not at all! Most of the time, parts are still only replaced when they fail completely. Even the steam generators -- which leak like sieves -- are only being replaced because they are becoming too clogged and inefficient to make money for SCE. Holes are plugged only when the reactor is shut down for other maintenance reasons, so crack by crack, the steam generators have been leaking poison into our environment more or less constantly for decades. And they were supposed to last the life of the plant. SCE doesn't understand metallurgy, that's for sure.

6) San Onofre is old technology and in a fair market -- a competitive environment where all the costs are included -- nuclear energy simply cannot compete with clean energy solutions. We now all know that radiation is a mutagenic, carcinogenic, teratogenic, destructive force. What it does to steel is awe-inspiring; what it does to children is terrifying. In nearly every study, the public has rejected nuclear power, and women especially -- perhaps more keenly aware of the biological consequences of radiation -- have consistently rejected nuclear power by margins of 2 to 1 or more. Smart people go into real "high tech" fields like wind turbine blade design (what the Wright Brothers spent a long time on is now done with computers), wave energy systems, the Internet and other interconnected networks including the electrical energy grid, and many other things which unfortunately must include health care for cancer victims. Radiation causes cancer. Wind turbines do not. Even the most efficient nuclear power plant is rendered dreadfully inefficient because of the waste it generates, and the potential for catastrophic accidents, and because it's simply a dumb way to boil water to generate steam to turn a turbine to generate electricity.

7) Like all nuclear power plants, San Onofre is prone to outages, as decades of experience has shown. Outages are sudden, sometimes prolonged, and always inconvenient. In contrast, a distributed energy system is nearly impossible to bring down accidentally, either through acts of God, acts of stupidity, acts of negligence, or acts of malice. Renewable energy is almost always distributed, and it is not a potential target of terrorism. Instead of getting our power from nuclear energy, which is failure-prone, expensive, dangerous, and secretive, we can switch to renewables today. In 2007, when fires swept throughout San Diego County (for the second time in less than half a decade), San Onofre (as so often happens) was not available to help provide emergency power. Typical. If San Onofre doesn't melt down after an earthquake ("Genpatsu-Shinsai" in Japanese), it nevertheless will probably be unavailable just when it's needed most. A proper mix of small-scale energy production systems would have no possibility of suffering a complete failure, and certainly would not poison the air, land, and water, regardless of what portion of it failed.

8) San Onofre generates about 500 pounds per day of high level radioactive spent fuel and other "high level" waste. That waste has nowhere to go. There are good, solid, scientifically-valid, unarguable reasons why Yucca Mountain, the proposed repository in Nevada, is a bad idea, and the Yucca Mountain team of scientists (a revolving-door of people, by the way) were told not just to look at Yucca Mountain, but to consider anything that anyone brought them: Rocketing the waste to the sun, deep-sea burial, various retrievable-storage systems -- they couldn't find anything better to do. Yet Yucca Mountain is unlikely to be built: The entire project is rife with criminally negligent scientific fraud, is despised by everyone in Nevada, is decades behind schedule, is being pushed forward by a corrupt Bush Administration, and is really more of an excuse to pretend there is a solution coming for the waste problem. Well, there isn't. Not a good one. Not a safe one. Not a cheap one. And maybe just plain -- there isn't. Elected and appointed officials in California should get real about this fact. The problem is unsolvable. It's intractable: A dilemma, a conundrum, an Achilles' heel (another one). It can't be solved because nuclear disintegrations (radioactive decays) break down all known molecular and chemical bonds (bonds between atoms) in the universe and can even destroy the nuclei of atoms. Chemical bonds in biological systems are particularly weak and easily broken. But the point here is that ALL containers are broken down at the atomic and even subatomic level by their radioactive contents. It's a fact of life. And death.

9) San Onofre destroys the aquatic life around it. It does this not just by raising the temperature of the water it uses -- millions of gallons every minute -- by about 15 to 20 degrees, but also by sucking in millions of fish, fish eggs and young hatchlings through its deadly swirling pumps every day. And when the plant shuts down, the thermal shock to the ecosystem is also damaging. In addition, San Onofre spews radioactive waste into the environment every day. Every day they lie and say there are "no releases." What they mean is that the release is diluted, by using storage vessels and dribble-valves, to be below regulatory concern. But Government studies (and others) have shown that there is no minimum dose of radiation. Any dose of radiation can destroy your DNA. Any dose of radiation can cause cancer. Any dose of radiation can kill. Studies have verified that living downwind of radioactive sources is dangerous. This is especially true for a source which also spews a lot of other chemicals into the environment, usually getting special dispensations from the federal government to do so! After half a century, why is such favoritism still necessary? Why are insurance loopholes still necessary? Why can't California regulate any -- let alone all -- of these things? Why must the federal government overrule our state's normal right to tighter, safer restrictions if we want them? (And we want them!)

10) The biological effects of radiation are undoubtedly worse than the federal government admits. Nearly all radiation risk assessments are still based on what are called the "healthy survivors" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those biased studies were designed to show that nuclear weapons could continue to be used. Newer, more honest research has shown time and again that radiation is more harmful than previously assumed. That is why allowable doses for nuclear workers and for the general public have dropped dramatically over the years. But they should drop even further. And much more frequent and much more accurate radiation measurements should be required throughout the community. Accurate epidemiological studies of the people around San Onofre should be carried out by independent researchers, but should be paid for by Southern California Edison.

11) San Onofre is located near several major earthquake faults, and the design basis, which only requires the facility to be able to survive a 7.0 earthquake, isn't adequate. In fact, it's woefully, laughably, disgustingly, thoroughly antiquated and should be discarded. Furthermore, even a much smaller earthquake could trigger an "underwater land slide" down the slopes of one of the many offshore underwater canyons, which could, in turn, generate a tsunami which would inundate San Onofre. The Banda Ache earthquake-triggered tsunami in 2004 generated well-documented wave heights of sixty feet, even hundreds of miles from the epicenter. But afterwards, the San Onofre power plant operators continued to assert that the facility's tsunami wall of about half that height is still considered adequate. It's not adequate, and any fool can see it.

12) San Onofre's existence prevents renewable-energy projects, and even people who hate San Onofre have to pay for it. But the utility doesn't want the public to be able to choose. The utility doesn't want the public to recognize the full costs of nuclear power, so they fudge the numbers by putting this cost and that cost off on some other entity. They simply expect the federal government to pay for air safety around the plants. But there aren't, and never will be, anti-aircraft batteries around our nuclear power plants ready to shoot down civilian planes. They expect the fuel disposal problem to be solved. They deny responsibility for every cancer, even among their own workers. And when they do settle with a harmed worker or their survivors, the details of the agreement are always kept secret from the public, from the media, and from epidemiological researchers. The utility makes a fortune. The public pays through the nose and then gets cancer. Lucky for the utility, nuclear poison is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Indeed, it is impossible to detect without sophisticated equipment, except for extremely high doses which are nearly always quickly fatal. Its primary health effects are often delayed by many years. Radiation is, in reality, the perfect murder weapon.

13) San Onofre's land can (in theory) be -- and is required by law to eventually be -- turned back into pristine beachfront property. At that point society could, of course, develop that land. What would 84 acres of beachfront realty located about midway between Los Angeles and San Diego be worth today if it came on the market? More than that stupid plant is worth, that's for sure! If San Onofre has a catastrophic accident, it will not be possible to return those 84 acres, nor the rest of Southern California, to pristine condition.

14) At San Onofre, a meltdown -- an accident beyond comprehension -- is possible. Therefore, we as citizens, have a duty to contemplate it. To be aware of what might cause it, and what the real consequences would be for us and our children. And even though no modern study of the costs has been done, it is inarguable among reasonable people that the cost of a meltdown at San Onofre could reach upwards of a trillion dollars. In lives, perhaps a million people could get cancer -- even in the unlikely event that an evacuation is somehow 100% successful. Even more could die if evacuations are hindered for some reason, such as a concurrent wildfire or earthquake or even just a few traffic accidents. In the event of a meltdown, what are the chances of a perfect evacuation? Approximately zero.

15) If Yucca Mountain opens (a dubious assumption) and San Onofre were to shut down today (a less dubious assumption, we hope), it will still take hundreds and hundreds of individual shipments to dispose of the radioactive waste which has already accumulated at San Onofre. Hundreds and hundreds of chances for a terrorist attack or an accident -- a bridge falling down, whatever. Two trains colliding. The federal government has offered hollow assurances that every chemical truck that the spent fuel might pass near on its journey will likewise be carefully monitored to keep the two separated. But it's a lie. Lies make the nuclear industry seem safe to the uninformed, but they do nothing to protect the public and nothing to fool the experts (or the terrorists). It is the duty of all citizens and honest government officials to see through the lies. If San Onofre stays open, then every few weeks forever, another shipment of extremely hazardous nuclear waste, capable of destroying thousands of square miles, will have to travel through our state to SOMEWHERE. Somewhere where nobody wants it, either. After sitting for years -- possibly for decades, and perhaps even for centuries -- on our coast.

16) San Onofre is a relic of the Cold War. Nuclear power was touted as "too cheap to meter" by a corrupt government agency which believed their own propaganda. We now know nuclear power is not cheap. We know it's not safe. We know that in 60 years of trying, the best minds have not been able to solve the waste problem. We know that renewable energy is ready to completely replace coal, oil, and nuclear power for electrical energy generation. In other words, renewable energy can help solve both the radioactive waste disposal problem AND the global warming problem.

17) Despite pro-nuclear claims to the contrary by people who, until about five years ago, didn't believe that global warming was happening, nuclear power is a major contributor to global-warming. Not only do the radioactive gasses emitted by nuclear power plants destroy the upper atmosphere at a terrific rate, but the entire nuclear fuel cycle burns an enormous amount of carbon-based fuels just to exist. The fifteen hundred workers at each plant also burn lots of carbon fuels getting to and from work, at work, and everywhere else, while accomplishing no long-term benefit for society, and at great risk to society. All proposed nuclear waste management solutions require enormous amounts of fossil fuels, as the reactor waste is moved to and fro, and guarded for eons. Eons! Try to calculate the cost of even one security guard on duty 24/7 for a million years, just to guard your waste (and don't forget to account for inflation)! Then factor in all the security guards needed to protect the waste created by everyone who comes after us. If we don't choose renewable energy solutions, society will be wallowing in nuclear waste. Hundreds of dry casks in California will turn into thousands. More and more "exclusion zones" where accidents have happened will be created. Is this the future we want?

18) Nuclear fuel is not renewable and any sort of nuclear renaissance would just burn up the limited supply faster. Some say we have only thirty years' worth of cost-effectively recoverable uranium left, others put it around 150 years, tops. And the price of uranium has skyrocketed in the past few years, going up by more than 1000%, with no end in sight. So-called "breeder reactors" are extremely dangerous and inefficient and, like the current reactors, generate fission products which must be contained away from human life, in many cases for thousands and tens of thousands of years. An impossible demand. An impossible promise.

19) San Onofre's owners hope to get tens of billions of dollars in federal, state, or public money so they can build a third reactor at the site. Unit One was closed down in the 1990s because it was inefficient. Its reactor pressure vessel still remains at the site because no waste management facility will take it. No one even wants it traveling through their neighborhood, and so it will probably remain here for decades. Pound for pound, spent fuel is at least ten million times more lethal than the "RPV" (and there is a lot more of it), so you can see that it too, will be very difficult to get rid of. Nobody wants radioactive waste. A state law (recently unsuccessfully challenged) prohibits new reactors in California until a solution to the radioactive waste problem is found. But nevertheless, the license for Unit One can be re-activated and the public has virtually no legal right to stop a "new" third reactor from being built at the site at any time. The only way to ensure it won't happen is to shut the whole facility down and put the people to work building clean, efficient, safe renewable energy systems. Or jail them.

20) In the 1960s, the public that originally accepted San Onofre was blatantly lied to, and that is now well-documented. Citizens who now spend the time to wade through the current lies, who learn about radiation's effects, have no trouble rejecting this technology. Virtually every supporter had, or still has, a financial connection to nuclear power -- it pays their bills, it provides for their retirement, it sends their kids to college, it buys their yacht. But virtually every detractor either dropped out of the industry to become a whistleblower of conscience, or studied nuclear power independently and simply reached a logical conclusion. The more the public knows about nuclear power, the less they like it. And the more they know about the renewable energy alternatives, the more they know that those are the way to go, not nuclear.

21) The nuclear industry is filled with people who fear knowledge. In an honest debate, they quickly prove that, while they might be experts in, for instance, ground-assault security, they know nothing of the biological consequences of tritium. Or perhaps they think they understand the biological consequences of tritium, but will not consider the engineering problems caused by the potential for 100-foot tsunami waves -- it's out of their area of expertise. Pro-nukers invariably assume that all the problems outside their little area of understanding have all been solved, but they are wrong. And, things which would be just "problems" for other industries are fatal flaws for nuclear technology. Reactor engineers are not pediatricians (and no pediatrician works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, you can be sure of that).

22) No national, open debate about nuclear power has ever occurred. Any public focus has always been couched in lies brought about by the fears of enemy forces within and without, real and imagined, named and unnamed. A realistic attitude about nuclear power cannot be cubby-holed by false promises, dark threats, or threats of darkness. A realistic attitude cannot be the product of lies believed, however strongly or frequently those lies are told. A realistic attitude cannot misrepresent the health risks or the financial risks. It also cannot ignore the alternatives.

23) The biological consequences of radiation poisoning are horrendous. An infinite variety of deformities are possible. Pro-nukers like to claim that "radiation" causes "evolution" but in reality, DNA strands join and divide in unique patterns without any need for radiation to destroy those delicate molecules, each comprised of billions of atoms, on which life depends. Radiation can help trigger every known type of cancer, as well as heart disease and many other ailments. Pro-nukers even like to claim that a little radiation is good for you -- like a vitamin. But any beneficial effect that has ever been noted must always be balanced against the long-term consequences. Even medical radiation treatments to "cure" cancer also can cause cancer, and this is a well-known and fully-accepted medical fact. Small doses of radiation can kill, and the amount of hazardous waste produced in just one minute at San Onofre could wipe out a city if it got out -- and sometimes it gets out, and sometimes people in the community undoubtedly die because of it, even though the plant's owners deny every death they cause. Mere micrograms, or at most a few milligrams of Polonium-210, a product of nuclear reactors, was all that was used to kill British citizen and ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, and leave a trail of contamination from Russia to London. Radioactive materials are extremely dangerous in vanishingly-small quantities. But the pro-nukers would have you believe it's health food!

And...

24) San Onofre's State overseers (the CEC, the CPUC, the CCC, etc.) claim that their hands are tied -- that "federal" regulations "prohibit" the state agencies from "considering health and safety issues." And if you read the Nuclear Regulatory Commission web site's description of these so-called statutes, agreements, regulations, and laws, you might be tempted to believe that the Feds have somehow taken away your right to life (for, a sufficiently radiative environment will kill you). But look at the actual state statutes by which authority was relinquished. There lies the truth about who gave up what and who took what. California gave up authority on one condition: That the feds would handle the nuclear issue, the whole kit-and-kiboodle, safely. That California's citizens would be protected. So how would the CEC, the CPUC, the CCC, or any other commission, or all of them put together, know if our safety is being protected when they immediately wash their hands (in tritiated water, no doubt) of all health and safety issues, and have done so since the 1962 agreement relinquishing authority to the federal government was first signed (with the old A.E.C. (Atomic Energy Commission))? Dozens of countries far smaller than California (geographically, by population, and / or by economic power) have complete control of their own nuclear facilities (let alone, the 100+ countries which have so far been wise enough not to have any nuclear power facilities on their soil). So why are California's elected and appointed officials arrogantly "playing dumb"? They keep saying they couldn't close California's nuclear power plants if they wanted to. Can't they at least have the good sense to want to?

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Sources and related information for reason #1:
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"David Edge, county administrative officer and emergency services director for the San Luis Obispo area, explained why it is unlikely terrorists would attack the nearby Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power facility: 'I wouldn't put it high on the list because we are a low population area ... We've got 250,000 [people] around Diablo. They've got 8 or 9 million around San Onofre.'"

-- September 12, 2001 article by Jerry Bunin, reporter for The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

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"About 200,000 people live within 10 miles of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, and about 10,000 people live within 10 miles of the Diablo Canyon plant in San Luis Obispo County."

-- "How pills will be disbursed" -- Orange County Register - Top News, June 29, 2002

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"An estimated 14,000 shipments of fuel could be trucked through California over a period of almost 40 years. Terrorism experts refer to this scenario as a "target rich" environment."

-- "Echoes of the Energy Crisis / Nuclear power -- the wrong fix" -- OpEd by Lynn Woolsey, 6th Congressional District and a member of the House Subcommittee on Energy, and Bernadette Del Chiaro, energy advocate for CalPIRG, the state environmental and consumer advocacy organization, San Francisco Chronicle (2002)

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"We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities, detailed instructions for making chemical weapons, surveillance maps of American cities, and thorough descriptions of landmarks in America and throughout the world."

-- President George W. Bush during his State of the Union Address, January 2002 (As reported Thursday January 31 7:03 PM ET, Reuters, "Possible Al Qaeda Plot to Attack Nuclear Plants")

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"'The NRC issued a message (to nuclear operators) saying you need to be aware that there is some information that indicates a nuclear power plant could be a target and to be aware of your surroundings and report anything unusual to the FBI,' said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge."

-- ibid.

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"Before Sept. 11, the NRC viewed a foreign attack on American soil as being too unlikely to consider.

"'No NRC-licensed nuclear facility or activity has even been subjected to armed attack,' the commissioners wrote in 1977. 'And we have no evidence suggesting such an attack is likely.'"

-- "State Asks NRC to Consider Terrorist Threat to Proposed Waste Facility" -- October 27, 2001 by Judy Fahys, The Salt Lake Tribune (as seen in RADBULL)

(Note: Actually, citizens had been demanding that federal officials consider such attacks for decades, to no avail.)

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Later figures this author has heard were that it was a heavier crane, and a slightly shorter fall. Like it makes a big difference! But to pro-nukers, it's enough to dismiss everything I've ever written! Also, the author's local paper (the North County Times) allowed me to slip in a few words as a letter to the editor (shown below in its entirety), so that some pro-nuker could tell the public that the blackouts we were experiencing at the time proved we needed more nuclear power, which one obligingly did a few weeks later. The blackouts were, in fact, the result of market manipulation by Enron, and the manipulation may have been specifically to cause blackouts, so that pro-nukers could claim that Californians need nuclear power! Because until the blackouts started, we could easily have shown that we didn't need it! (Three of our four nukes were down for one reason or another for a while, and usage was high, but there were no blackouts. Then Enron noticed...) Don't count psy-ops out too quickly, dear reader!

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"I understand a 50,000-pound crane fell 50 feet at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on June 1. A strap broke. That's a long fall. I bet it made quite a hole. I hope the North County Times will run over and get some pictures.

"SONGS should be closed ASAP. It's dangerous."

-- Letter to the Editor by Ace (Russell) Hoffman, June 9th, 2001, North County Times http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2001/06/09/export11559.txt

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In the report shown below, retired physics professor Norman Dessel is talking about a "criticality event," while SCE spokesperson Ray Golden is talking about a Hiroshima-type explosion. What happened at Tokaimura in Japan, and killed three workers and contaminated a large area, was a criticality event. Nobody imagines it was a Hiroshima-bomb type event. Also, note that the Dry Casks do NOT have "several feet of steel" as Ray Golden claims, but only several inches of steel and then several feet of concrete. A few 50-caliber rounds would blast through it all in a matter of seconds.

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Reporter Aziz: "Retired physics professor Dr. Norman Dessel says storing the spent fuel in above-ground containers leaves them vulnerable to earthquakes and terrorism. He says excessive shaking could cause a dangerous chain reaction."

Prof. Dessel: "As terrible as a hundred nuclear reactors blowing up simultaneously. So we're not talking about a Sunday School picnic firecracker here."

Ray Golden, SONGS: "They're completely misinformed and they don't understand the laws of physics. It's physically impossible for a chain reaction to reoccur in the fuel."

Aziz: "Plant spokesman Ray Golden says the nuclear waste would be safe. Encased in several feet of steel, then covered in concrete."

-- from a Fox News6 San Diego report, June 1st, 2001, the day Unit III went back online after a $100,000,000.00 fire and four-month outage.

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There are many sources for various estimates of the number of dead from Chernobyl. Nobody knows for sure. Greenpeace feels that it will top 100,000 "in the coming years" (it should be noted that Greenpeace USA "unsubscribed" from this newsletter after this essay was first published! No explanation was given, but the author will assume it was because of: Infiltrators.).

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"The fallout from Chernobyl, the world's worst nuclear accident, will be 10 times more deadly than previously thought and will cause almost 100,000 people to die from cancer in coming years, Greenpeace says.

"Twenty years after Chernobyl's fourth reactor exploded, sending a radiation-lined cloud into the atmosphere, the green, anti-nuclear campaign group alleged that the human consequences of the disaster have been woefully and deliberately underestimated."

-- Fallout from Chernobyl Will Cause 100,000 Deaths, Says Greenpeace by Andrew Osborn Wednesday, April 19, 2006 by the Independent / UK

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"Chernobyl Museum: This grim museum in Podil tells the story of the world's worst nuclear accident. Its hallways are lined with the signposts of the evacuated towns and villages [surrounding] the plant. Exhibits include photos of animal and human deformities and a model of the reactor."

-- from http://www.visitkievukraine.com/attractions/chernobyl.htm

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Also see these horrific pictures of deformed animals AND INFANTS, if you can stand it:

http://community.livejournal.com/wtf_nature/263343.html

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Since 1998 more than 30 scientists collaborated on a study of Chernobyl which was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and more than half a dozen other U.S. organizations as well as several foreign ones. In the summary of principal findings shown below, the sweeping benefits blithely ascribed to "antioxidants" in item (6) are particularly interesting to this author, because it's worded as if these things can completely solve the contamination problem.

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Summary of principal findings to date that are published, in press or submitted (see attached list for citations):

1) Surveys of bird populations indicate that mutation loads in natural populations are much higher than in uncontaminated areas.

2) Literature reviews indicate that mutation rates in many different species of plants and animals (including humans) are higher than in control regions.

3) Chernobyl populations exhibit a wide variety of morphological deformities that are not found in any normal population.

4) Surveys of birds, insects, and spiders indicate that many species are either absent or in very low numbers in the Chernobyl region. Brightly colored and migratory species of birds appear to be particularly sensitive to radioactive contaminants.

5) Studies of birds indicate that some species may only persist in the contaminated regions via immigration from uncontaminated areas. Without this immigration, perceived impacts would be even higher than current projections. Media reports of a "healthy" Chernobyl environment with rare species of birds and mammals are likely the result of immigrants and not locally sustained populations.

6) Population and community studies suggest that antioxidants (e.g. vitamins A and E, and carotenoids) may provide protection against the mutagenic effects of radioactive contaminants.

7) In a study of 1251 children living in the contaminated regions of Chernobyl, we find dramatic impacts of contamination on several hematological measures including platelets, red and white blood cell counts, and hemoglobin. This is the first study of this sort to be reported.

-- The above is from: http://cricket.biol.sc.edu/chernobyl/Chernobyl.htm


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"Last year the Davis-Besse reactor, near Toledo, missed bringing Chernobyl to the Great Lakes by a mere fraction of an inch of deteriorating metal. Boric acid ate through six inches of solid steel and left only a warped shard between the superheated core and unfathomable catastrophe. "

-- The Hole-in-the Head Nuke: Will They Restart Davis-Bessie? by Harvey Wasserman, CounterPunch, July 7, 2003: http://www.counterpunch.org/wasserman07072003.html

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Sources and related information for reason #4:
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September 26th, 2001:

On the front page of the NC Times, Ray Golden, spokesperson for San Onofre Nuclear (Waste) Generating Station, says he, "had always been taught that we were designed specifically for large plane crashes...That was incorrect." In another paper, he is reported to have said, "The plant was never designed for the impact from a commercial airplane."

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September 26th, 2001:

Breck Henderson of the NRC is quoted saying activists aren't facing reality. He claims the plants are safe against tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados and "other natural or man-made disasters". (NC Times)

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"The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Determination That The Impact Of A Large, Commercial Aircraft Is A Beyond-Design Basis Event Is Arbitrary And Capricious."

-- From a December 17, 2007 letter from Greenpeace to Annette Vietti-Cook, Secretary
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, published at NIRS's web site:
http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/security/gpcommentsaircraft.pdf

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This next document advocates air defenses, but such batteries are unlikely to ever be built, and would be very expensive:

"NCI calculations show penetration of up to 6 feet of reinforced concrete by jumbo jet engine is plausible.

"NRC should disown NEI's fraudulent claim that the Sandia video of the F-4 crash test into a concrete wall "speaks for itself."

-- Post-9/11 Security At Nuclear Power Plants, Paul Leventhal, Nuclear Control Institute, NRC Regulatory Information Conference, Washington, DC, March 5, 2002
http://www.nci.org/PDF/pl-nrc-3502.pdf

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"After shutdown, visual leak detection with fluorescein dye can detect typical leaks, but not problem leaks such as those that close up when the temperature and pressure of the steam generator is reduced . . . a SG tube had a 'low-level leak' detected. Available evidence indicated that this leak had been the source of elevated secondary tritium concentrations for the previous ten years."

-- Steam Generator Leak Detection (Industrial technical sales literature document from Kinectrics, Ontario, Canada, January 2007)

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"[After repairs] fluid can penetrate along the tube sleeve interface and corrode through the weld bead thereby causing leakage. . . . [repaired] seals tend to leak once the expanded areas have been exposed to several thermal cycles."

-- http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?IA=WO1984%2F01119&DISPLAY=DESC

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"On Monday, 9 August 2004 a fatal accident happened at the Hihama No. 3 nuclear power station in Fukui prefecture, Japan. . . . In 27 years of operation [the] 56 cm diameter pipe had not once been checked for corrosion, let alone replaced."

-- http://www.joewein.de/mihama.htm

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"Women From All Regions Of The World Strongly Oppose Including Nuclear Energy Into The Clean Development Mechanism"

-- Main statement of the Gender And Climate Change Network -- Women For Climate Justice Position Paper, UNFCCC COP13, Bali Indonesia, Dec 2007-12-10 Prepared by WECF ­ Women in Europe for a Common Future and gender CC Network ­ Women for Climate Justice.
http://www.wecf.eu/download/2008/WECF_GenderCC-Nuclear_position-final_12_11_2007.pdf

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Note: The nuclear power industry is proud because currently their plants operate almost nine days out of ten, on average. (Twenty years go they were barely operating 6 days out of 10, so I guess they have a point.) Some of the outages are "planned" refueling shutdowns, but many of those start with an unplanned shutdown as they near a fuel cycle break. And you can add the following to the dangers from raging fires just beyond the fence:

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"SAN ONOFRE -- A worker trained to watch for fires at the San Onofre nuclear power plant falsified records and skipped hourly rounds on "numerous occasions" for more than five years, federal regulators said Monday."

-- Craig TenBroeck, NC Times, Regulatory agency orders changes to address 'safety culture' issues, Tuesday, January 15, 2008 1:06 AM PST

http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2008/01/15/news/top_stories/1_01_031_14_08.txt

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"No place for waste: On Saturday, the Federal government is supposed to start taking nuclear waste from U.S. power plants, but it's not ready. If a permanent storage site can't be found, Americans could be facing energy costs and serious environmental problems."

-- Bill Salisbury, Washington Bureau, January 30, 1998, Page 1A, St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN) (From newsbank archives)

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Note the claim of zero pollutants is made by someone who should know better. And one wonders if his enthusiasm was dampened less than two years later, on September 11, 2001:

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"In contrast [to coal and oil plants], a 1,000 MWe nuclear plant releases annually no noxious gases or other pollutants."

-- "The Need for Nuclear Power" by Richard Rhodes and Denis Beller, January 2000. http://www.nci.org/conf/rhodes/index.htm

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Now read the NRC's own summary for tritium releases, and ask yourself how these two comments comport:

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Curies of Tritium Released in Liquid Effluents; Statistical Summary for 2003:

PWRs: 725
BWRs: 27.7

-- http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/ops-experience/tritium/faqs.html#normal

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The cancer death rate for children in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties has risen 64% since the late 1980s, as the Diablo Canyon reactors came online.

Change in Cancer Death Rate, Age 0-19, After Late 1980s; Counties Closest to Rancho Seco (closed 1989), and Diablo Canyon (started 1984- 85)

Cancer Deaths Deaths/100000

Area '85-89 '90-04 '85-89 '90-04 % Ch. Rate

Diablo Canyon 16 92 2.15 3.53 +64.0%

Rancho Seco 76 249 4.28 3.49 - 18.6%

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://wonder.cdc.gov, underlying cause of death. Uses ICD-9 cancer codes 140.0-239.9 (until 1998) and ICD-10 cancer codes C00-D48.9 (after 1998). The counties within 40 miles and downwind (east) of Rancho Seco are Amador, El Dorado, Placer, and Sacramento, while the counties within 40 miles of Diablo Canyon are San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

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Note: The danger from underwater landslides has been known, but ignored, for years:

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"waves as high as 50 feet [along the Santa Barbara coast] . . . triggered by even a modest earthquake . . . a wave at least 100 feet high . . . 24 minutes to climb to safety "
-- "Underwater Landslides Threaten California Coast" by David Perlman, SF Chronicle Science Editor, Tuesday, December 19, 2000, Page A-2

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"Military protection of nuclear power plants---infantry & anti-aircraft batteries."

-- Recommendation of NCI, March 5, 2002 (for full reference see #4, above)

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Note: California is a little over three times the size of Pennsylvania, which is just over 46,000 square miles. The exclusion zone around Chernobyl is currently about 1200 square miles (see notes for reference #3). Any reference to an area "the size of Pennsylvania" is based on an infamous comment was from an AEC study. A typical reference to this study is shown below. The study has never been proven inaccurate except in the many things it ignored:

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"You see, way back in the Fifties and Sixties, the Atomic Energy Commission, a booster-regulatory agency for atomic power plants, estimated that an "area the size of Pennsylvania" would be contaminated in such a disaster. "

-- Nader.org: http://www.nader.org/index.php?/archives/1210-Say-No-to-Nukes.html

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California's Gross Domestic Product for 2006 was about $1.7 trillion, according to Wikipedia.

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According to the Yucca Mountain documentation, the vehicle for transporting the YM waste would have about 98 wheels and nearly 20 axles. I'm sure terrorists will have little trouble picking it out.

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According to T. Boone Pickens's congressional testimony on June 17th, 2008, renewables are a good investment.

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"Terrorists targeting the high-density storage systems used at nuclear power plants throughout the nation could cause contamination problems 'significantly worse than those from Chernobyl.'"

-- Study: High-density storage of nuclear waste heightens terrorism risks, Princeton, N.J, Feb. 13, 2003, Princeton University Office of Communications

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A review of uranium prices at www.uranium-stocks.net and www.uxc.com show that the price has skyrocketed, starting about 4 years ago (c. 2004), with some falloff during the past year, but it's still more than 1000% higher than it was less than a decade ago. The increase in oil prices in the past year to over $130 per barrel "fuels" other energy prices, so it is not unreasonable to expect uranium prices to go up by another 1000%, to, say, $700 per pound for what was, less than 15 years ago, available for about $7 per pound!

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Sources and related information for reason #19:
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Unit 1's reactor pressure vessel (RPV) weighs about 900 tons ("as heavy as two fully loaded Boeing 747s", as one article put it).

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Sources and related information for reason #20:
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Speaking of renewable energy alternatives:

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"By itself the Salton Sea area in California has been estimated by some capable of generating more than all the electricity used in California today. The oldest geothermal plant in Larderello, Italy, is still functioning today after more than a century far away from the Ring of Fire. Germany and Sweden are two others aggressively developing geothermal resources. Water temperatures as low as 165 degrees F are generating electricity at Chena Hot Spring Spa in Alaska."

-- Comment by Terry Hallinan regarding "The Folly of Fueled Power Plants" article by Thomas R. Blakeslee, Clearlight Foundation.

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The Salton Sea Geothermal Field is one of the largest untapped sources of geothermal energy in America, and could also be a source of inexpensive mineral recovery -- perhaps yielding more profit than the energy generation capabilities!

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Sources and related information for reason #21:
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The author has communicated with thousands of pro-nukers over the years. The best that the most honorable, most honest, and most polite of them ever do in a debate is to eventually "agree to disagree" (which this author never technically agrees to, since the phrase is meaningless). They back off after I wedge them into a critical area they know essentially nothing about, after they've failed to prove anything salient within their own sphere of technical expertise. At the same time, of course, they've tried to do the same to me, but I know how to use the Internet and my own network of informed individuals to make sure my points are valid when I have any doubt. So eventually, their only choices are to expose their ignorance, change their views, or run. So they run, and call it "agreeing to disagree." That's the best of them. The rest resort to circular arguments, logical fallacies, stammering, repetition, or they present a fundamentally unscientific, unproven conclusion.

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San Onofre puts a psychological damper on society. Not only must citizens always worry about a meltdown, but it sucks money and human intellect out of society, instead of recognizing the value of renewable energy and living within our environmental footprint. Why should I have to spend any time fighting an idea that was so stupid in the first place, it never should have got off the ground?

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Sources and related information for reason #23:
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California's GNP exceeds all but seven nations of the world. What we do matters. How we lead the rest of the world matters. Our ability to find the truth matters. Our ability to run our economy in a productive, not a destructive way, matters.

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See my newsletter: "Coastal Commission enables a NEW quarter million pounds of High Level Radioactive Waste each year in California!," April 28th, 2008, and my May 5th, 2008 follow-up: "The Unconstitutionality of Nuclear Power Regulation in America." The following is from the former:

"The pre-emption of state regulatory authority was made in 1962, as described in Section 115230 of the California Health And Safety Code. But Article VIII of the California Health And Safety Code, Section 115235, states the following: "The Commission, upon its own initiative after reasonable notice and opportunity for hearing to the State, or upon request of the Governor of the State, may terminate or suspend this Agreement and reassert the licensing and regulatory authority vested in it under the Act if the Commission finds that such termination or suspension is required to protect the public health and safety." ("The Commission" here referred specifically to the California Resources Agency. See Section 114985 of the Code.)

In Article IX of the same section of the California Health and Safety Code, Section 115235, it is stated that after the agreement takes effect it shall "remain in effect unless, and until such time as it is terminated pursuant to Article VIII."

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Monday, June 2, 2008

The opinion of one "atomic historian"

June 2nd, 2008

Dear Readers,

The following email was left at Barbara Boxer's web site this morning (a few small typos have been corrected). On the form at the web site, they asked for a suffix, so I put "Atomic Historian."

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

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Dear Senator Boxer,

Please do not hand the nuclear robber-barons another nickel, not tomorrow, not ever!

They are stealing our future, destroying our DNA. Science abhors a vacuum, but a raging particle traveling at nearly the speed of light is no better! We have not learned to control the atom in 60 years, nor will we. We cannot protect biological systems from it. We have seen the damage it does to the steel of the reactors themselves -- I'm not talking about the rust like at Davis-Besse (that's bad enough) but what about all the irradiated equipment that then fails before its time (D-B was due to an acid leak)?

If radiation is so hard on any container the Department of Energy can come up with for long-term storage of radioactive waste -- and it is -- they've given up on "containment" and use "physical isolation" (in an earthquake zone, good luck) hopes and dreams instead -- then please just IMAGINE the damage ionizing radiation does to our bodies. To a single-celled organism, especially.

One of us, in the first few minutes after conception, for example. Or one of our cells, that then turns cancerous.

The "free-radical" damage from radiation probably far exceeds the possible direct-DNA damage, and ALL radiation is damaging.

Fission products are the main output of ANY nuclear reactor. That, and propaganda.

Please, Senator Boxer, don't let them produce more fission products for us to breath, eat, drink and wallow in! They've never been able to contain it nearly as well as they say they will, and a major catastrophic accident is just time away -- it is INEVITABLE with the current policy -- let alone, with ANY nuclear revival.

Cancel Price-Anderson. Close San Onofre and Diablo Canyon forever today.

This is NOT one small step -- it's a big one. Instead, it appears you are on the verge of giving the nuclear industry half a TRILLION dollars in government money! Enough is enough! Renewable energy can power ALL of California!

Yesterday, on the tracks that run by my house, I saw a STEAM LOCOMOTIVE run by. I suppose it must have been at least a hundred years old, but there it was! I almost got the camera out in time to take a picture. People were waiting all along the tracks, and we didn't know why until suddenly it ran by, belching steam, and blowing it's whistle.

It was beautiful. Old, useless, wasteful, but beautiful.

That could never be said of ANYTHING produced by a nuclear power plant. It's steel -- would you want it in your child's braces?

Do you want to drink their tritiated water, billions of gallons a day polluted to some tiny degree under the Environmental Protection Agency's absurdly-high, dangerously unsafe "legal" limit?

The nuclear industry believes that any level under any legal limit is BY DEFINITION, SAFE.

They are wrong, and they are wrong about public support. If the public supports nuclear power, it's only because the public, unlike yours truly, has not read 100+ books on the subject (I own about 400 books on the subject, but I haven't read quite all of them.)

If our generation builds a new fleet of nuclear power plants it will be bad. But keeping the current ones operating is also wrong.

Sincerely,

Ace

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** Russell "Ace" Hoffman, Owner & Chief Programmer
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