Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Experts to talk about SanO safety; comments on the previous newsletter; health report for author

Feb. 1, 2023

1) Online forum on San Onofre safety with UCS physicist Edwin Lyman this Friday, 11:30 am PST
2) SCE's CEP is useless; citizens plan alternative meeting with highly qualified safety expert(s)
3) Paul Blanch Bio
4) Last week's newsletter refuting nuclear power as "baseload" is available online
5) A few hours after sending last week's newsletter I had a mild stroke ("mild" means no apparent lasting effects)
6)  It's always better to be lucky than smart
7) URL for this newsletter

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, California USA

1) Online forum on San Onofre safety with UCS physicist Edwin Lyman this Friday, 11:30 am PST:

As part of the First Friday series, the Samuel Lawrence Foundation is hosting a Zoom meeting 11:30 a.m. PST Feb. 3 with physicist Edwin Lyman, PhD, Director of Nuclear Power Safety for the Union of Concerned Scientists. The online meeting is free and open to the public.

Lyman, an expert on nuclear proliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear power safety will address security risks at Southern California Edison's seaside nuclear waste dump at San Onofre.

Lyman argues that security at nuclear storage sites should be beefed up.

"We agree with Dr. Lyman that security is inadequate, especially at locations that are so near publicly-accessible areas, like Edison's beachfront nuclear waste dump near San Onofre State Beach," said Bart Ziegler, PhD, president of the Samuel Lawrence Foundation.

Lyman, coauthor of "Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster" and the 2018 recipient of the Leo Szilard Lectureship Award from the American Physical Society, is a member of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management and past president of the Nuclear Control Institute.

Zoom link: (this event was recorded and should be available soon)

First Fridays are made possible in part with the Coalition for Nuclear Safety.

Friday, February 3, at 11:30 a.m. PST

2) SCE's CEP is useless; citizens plan alternative meeting with highly qualified safety expert(s):

The Southern California Edison-funded-and-controlled Citizen's Engagement Panel (CEP) has been completely useless and biased, and complicit in promoting SoCalEd's propaganda while suppressing opposition viewpoints.

Paul Blanch, on the other hand, is a well-known and highly qualified expert who should have been given a voice at the CEP meetings, but has been repeatedly denied a chance.

Now, a group of local concerned citizens are organizing a meeting to give Blanch and other experts a forum the CEP will not provide. The Ocean Beach Rag has published an announcement about the upcoming event. The exact date has not been set, but it will probably be in late March, 2023. See:

Gary Headrick
Cathy Iwane
Paul Blanch

3) Paul Blanch Bio:

Paul Blanch has more than 50 years of nuclear engineering experience, including management of regulatory issues and safety concerns in the nuclear industry. He has been employed by nuclear licensees for more than 30 years. As a nuclear safety advocate, Blanch's main goal is to assure that US nuclear plants are operated safety and in compliance with federal regulations.

During Mr. Blanch's career, he has worked for the chief nuclear officers (CNOs) at Millstone, Maine Yankee and Indian Point, including both Consolidated Edison and Entergy Nuclear. He has been a paid consultant for the State of New York. While engaged with these companies, Blanch was heavily involved with decommissioning responsibilities. He has also made presentations to the Pilgrim and the Vermont decommissioning panels. Blanch has interfaced extensively with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on decommission safety issues and recently met with the NRC Chairman, Staff and NRC's Inspector General regarding San Onofre.

Mr. Blanch has provided consulting services for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). He was named Engineer of the Year by Westinghouse Electric. Blanch has been a Registered Professional Engineer (PE) by the State of California. Blanch has testified before the US Senate on NRC regulatory issues resulting in a significant change to the Atomic Energy Act.

4) Last week's newsletter refuting nuclear power as "baseload" is available online:

Here's the URL for last week's newsletter:

Thanks to Dr. Helen Caldicott, Harvey Wasserman, Jane Swanson, Jan Boudart, Judy Treichel, Bob Nichols, Michael Feinstein, Alice McNally, Joe Holtzman, Penny McCracken and others who sent this author kind words, and in some cases reposted the previous newsletter.

And thanks also to Donna Gilmore, who also doesn't like Diablo Cyn, but nevertheless doubts that offshore wind is feasible (though I never described something that hasn't already been done somewhere in the world) and who is worried about the quality of the grid in terms of reliability.

Grid reliability is certainly an important issue. But, as Buckminster Fuller showed nearly a century ago, a global energy grid can supply ALL the energy the world needs through clean, renewable sources like wind and sun. The wind doesn't always blow all the time in any particular spot, but it always blows somewhere!

On the other hand, having an enormous percentage of the "baseload" coming out of one spot and that spot requiring its own offsite power is a recipe for failure. Or for disaster.

5) A few hours after sending last week's newsletter I had a mild stroke ("mild" means no apparent lasting effects):

My first. I'm fine.  But if you want the details, read on...

Of course, a stroke doesn't feel "mild" when it's happening. You only learn that (if you're lucky) later.

A few hours after sending out the newsletter last week, I had what doctors have determined was a minor stroke in my cerebellum. I spent about 34 hours in the ER of a local hospital.

All of a sudden, the world started spinning (while I was "on the throne"). The spinning surprised me, but about once a month I see stars there anyway -- ever since I took a really hard punch right between the eyes during karate class about 15 years ago. (It was accidental, but I had eye problems and headaches for a few weeks afterwards. And the stars come out now and then ever since.)

I closed my eyes for a few seconds, but when I opened them, things were really spinning pretty strangely -- as if they were actually going round and round.

I closed my eyes again, but when I opened them the second time, things were spinning crazily, like a whirling dervish! I tried to get up a little and realized it was impossible, I was totally dizzy. I dove for the floor and yelled for my wife. By the third or fourth try enunciating the words, I managed to tell her I thought I had a stroke. The right side of my mouth just would not cooperate, which is a pretty good sign it was a stroke. When I tried to use my arms they were shaking like a leaf on a tree, pale and weak. Most of the symptoms subsided within about 20 minutes; thankfully none remain.  We've been out biking several times since then.

I saw stars once in the past week, which is not too surprising, but for the first time, they were only on one side. THAT was strange!

6) It's always better to be lucky than smart:

My late father, Howard S. Hoffman, was a veteran of World War II with a mortar platoon in the U.S. Army.

War began for Howard in Italy in March, 1944, and progressed all the way to the Elbe River in Germany, where they met the Russians coming the other way in May, 1945. His platoon was rushed up to take part in the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

After the war, with help from the G.I. Bill, dad went to college, earned a Ph.D. in psychology, and in 1957 "Dr. Hoffman" joined the faculty at Pennsylvania State University until 1970, and then at Bryn Mawr College until he retired. Prior to joining PSU, during lean years, he painted and shared a small flat in New York City with the then also-young writer William Styron (they stayed in contact later in life, and he was always referred to as "Bill Styron" in our house).

Dad taught statistics for nearly 50 years, to students from many disciplines (not just psychology students) and, after he retired, my dad, my wife and I wrote an interactive educational statistics tutorial together (he later told me she's "the best statistician he'd ever met"!).

My dad always said "it's always better to be lucky than smart." I've been very lucky. But nothing compared to what he went through during his military service in Europe! I've survived cancer twice (bladder cancer about 15 years ago, and Mantle Cell Lymphoma just after the start of the CoViD pandemic). There was a suicidal driver intent on having a head-on collision, and several dozen other "close calls." A year or so ago I actually made a list of over 30 such "Near Death Experiences" (NDEs) -- at least, all the ones I could still remember!

It may seem like a lot, but my dad probably had that many NDEs each week of combat for more than a year.

His platoon started with about twenty-four men, and by the Battle of the Bulge, had been "replaced" two or three times, and was down to about eight men, including officers. Losses include both KIA and wounded. According to dad, there were more losses from "bad ammunition"  (4.2 mortars) than from the enemy! So-called "bad ammunition" had a nasty tendency of exploding inside the mortar barrel, or just after it left the barrel.  Mortar shell problems turned out to be a huge scandal after the war.

Sometimes government regulation isn't much use. And it's always better to be lucky than smart!

7) URL for this newsletter:


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