Tonight some of the greatest minds on the planet will gather electronically, physically, and/or spiritually, to try to explain nuclear power to the public, to city leaders, to state officials if they show up, and to the media.
Presenting tonight [October 11, 2011] will be Helen Caldicott, Dan Hirsch, Arnie Gundersen and Bill Perkins. If all goes according to plan, the public will have many chances to speak, too.
The time? 6:30 pm Pacific Time (9:30 pm Eastern)
The place? Community Center, 100 Calle Seville, San Clemente, California
The event? A city-sponsored information presentation. This is a follow-up to the September 27, 2011 hearing held by the city of San Clemente (nearest city adjacent to San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station (SONWGS)). The previous hearing included Southern California Edison and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It was a white-wash. This won't be.
(SCE are the operators of the nuclear waste generating system; the NRC are the lap-dog regulators of those operators, paid for (90%) by the industry. The NRC theoretically takes over where industry self-regulation ends, but "mind the gap".)
SONWGS, also called SONGS by those who ignore the hazardous waste it produces, is in the process of being shut down by the citizens. I'm sure we will win. But afterwards, San Onofre will leave a costly legacy for the human race to have to handle for hundreds of thousands of years.
The legacy is the "spent" fuel.
Don't let names used in the nuclear industry fool you -- "spent" fuel isn't "spent" at all, it's lethality has been greatly ENHANCED -- by a factor of perhaps 10 million times!
Thus, one pellet is now as dangerous to human life -- to all life -- as ten million pellets were BEFORE they were placed in the reactor and bombarded with slow neutrons.
Every time an atom is split for energy, two atoms (on average) of lethal hazardous waste are created. (I know of no other industrial process so capable of creating more of a mess than it starts with than the nuclear process.)
So a pair of 1,000-megawatt reactors is creating an unbelievably large quantity of hazardous poisons every single day! 250 pounds per day per reactor, according to the industry itself (and that's only the "high level" radioactive waste. It produces many times more than that of so-called "low-level" rad waste every day, too. And the only difference between "high-level" and "low-level" is the dilution level -- NOT the lethality level! One atom can kill you, but it's not very likely to. That's a statistical fact. However, there are about a thousand times MORE decays per second in one gram of tritium than there are stars in the Milky Way! And tritium is so hazardous that a nuclear reactor is "ONLY" allowed to release about one thirtieth of a teaspoon of tritium per year! And that must be diluted in billions of gallons of air and/or water as it is released. (In actuality, the average known tritium releases are usually several times higher than the permissible levels, but the additional releases are considered "exceptions" even though they generally happen at every power plant on a regular basis.)
And even that is too much -- the standard should be made more stringent.
Tritium also leaks from every reactor, uncounted and unreported, and it is only one of THOUSANDS of types of radioactive isotopes released from EVERY nuclear reactor all the time.
Radioactive noble gases, radioactive strontium, iodine, cesium, plutonium... These radioactive versions of normal elements, and new (manmade) elements, are not healthy for your body -- or your baby's body. They masquerade as safe, stable, normal elements until the moment of radioactive decay. Then they send out a huge (on an atomic scale) burst of energy, change into a different (often also radioactive) element, and destroy whatever they were a part of at the time -- a water molecule perhaps, or perhaps they were one atom in a DNA strand of billions of precisely-placed atoms. Or maybe the energy burst destroyed some DNA it was near, but not a part of...
So-called "spent" fuel is the most hazardous stuff on earth. We make it, but we have no place to put it.
What was once raw ore in the earth, was first processed into a ceramic pellet and still not very hazardous but no picnic, has become a problem with no solution -- a hazard so lethal you can't stand next to it without many feet of steel and concrete, or lead. You can't use it for anything. It would cost a fortune to try to get rid of by trucking it somewhere (no one wants it), rocketing it to the sun (way, way, WAY too risky and equally too expensive), burying it at sea (uh oh, that's been tried, it failed miserably...) or anywhere else... nobody wants it, no place on earth is stable enough, far enough away from people and wildlife, isn't a source of drinking water or anything else we need (such as minerals), and yet is somehow close enough that we can safely transport the waste from hither to yon a hundred thousand times across the country, and many thousands of times from San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station alone.
There's no such place.
Instead, they are building dry cask storage. Hidden from I-5 highway view but only a few hundred feet away, nestled carefully behind the bluffs and the (14') sea wall, are dozens and dozens of "dry casks" which contain this deadly waste (along with spent fuel pools and the reactors themselves). More are being added as the reactors continue to operate. The waste has to go somewhere, but it has nowhere to go. So it ends up in dry casks. Deadly, silent, waiting to make their own version of Fukushima...
The dry casks are carefully sealed up. That is, they are ready to burst into flame at the slightest trouble -- such as an airplane strike by accident (they are DIRECTLY under several jet airliner routes) or on purpose. Or such as an earthquake stronger than they predict, and a tsunami (which could provide the moderator needed to slow the neutrons down, and allow a criticality event in the spent fuel after an earthquake jostles them together, in this writer's opinion).
So come to this hearing. Learn why babies are perhaps a hundred times more susceptible to radiation's dangers than adults (yet the standard reference for calculating radiation's dangers to a population are adult males -- the LEAST susceptible of all populations!).
Learn why fetuses are perhaps a thousand times more susceptible to radiation's dangers -- because their cells are differentiating and determining their future, adult's cells are already specialized in their function.
Learn about nuclear power. And learn why so many experts want to shut it down forever.
We hope to see you there.
From: Gary [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2011 5:42 PM
Subject: SC Green - Our Biggest Contribution Ever
It is difficult to imagine anything we could ever bring to the region that will be more important than the meeting on Tuesday, 10/11, 6:30 pm at the San Clemente Community Center, 100 Calle Seville.
Some of the world's best known Nuclear Experts that are not on the payroll of the nuclear industry will be presenting an entirely different perspective regarding "Implications for San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station from the Disaster at Fukushima". At the same meeting, you'll learn about the safe, renewable technologies that await exploitation. Cost effective and economically stimulating options abound.
We see this as an emergency, and we believe you will too, once you better understand our vulnerabilities and opportunities to change course ASAP. A large earthquake is overdue by 150 years and is expected to exceed the design basis for San Onofre. This is only one of many potential causes for a meltdown at this particular plant rated the second most dangerous of all 104 in the USA. It will take at least five years from the date we shut it down until nuclear waste can be stored in much safer dry casks as recommended by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. While shut down, we will only need to make up for 6.5 percent of our electricity. We can immediately begin the quest in earnest for a truly sustainable future.
You can't begin to imagine the effort some of your fellow citizens have gone to in bringing such an important meeting together. Now it is up to you to actually benefit from all of this effort by showing up and bringing friends to get the latest information about our nuclear power plant. Help us spread the word. Learn about important considerations the industry often glosses over so you can make informed decisions and encourage our city council to do the same at their next regular meeting at City Hall on 10/18.
See what the experts expect from the big earthquake, without even considering damage to San Onofre. (the Newport/Inglewood fault just 3 miles off shore is capable of a mag.7.5 to 8.0)
Expected Panel of Nuclear Experts:
SCG/ Decom SONWGS Public Service Announcement for the hearing tonight:
San Clemente Patch article about tonight's hearing:
Tsunami threats discussed in June, 2001:
"There are about 1 * 10^4 Curies in a gram of tritium. 1 curie is 3.7 * 10^10 decays per second, so that's 3.7 * 10^14 dps per gram. There are about 3.7 * 10^11 stars in the Milky Way -- a thousand times LESS than the number of decays per second emanating from a single gram of San Onofre's so-called "safe" tritium. "
The above quote is from my 2004 essay on tritium: