The city of Laguna Beach, California went on record Tuesday as supporting San Clemente's appeal to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that public concerns be fully addressed before the 2-unit nuclear plant is allowed to restart. Laguna Beach went further to also challenge any consideration by NRC of relicensing the plants before they expire in 2022.
In a 4-1 vote Tuesday night, the Laguna Beach City Council decided to sent a letter to the NRC outlining their concerns. To which the SCE spokesperson at the meeting responded...
"Southern California Edison has not made a decision on whether we'll apply for renewal," said Edison spokesman Christopher Abel.
The majority of 14 speakers at Tuesday's meeting would be delighted if Edison immediately dismantled the plant, let alone opted not to renew the license.
Abel verified that 4,000 tons of high-level, radioactive waste are stored there.
It's not bad enough that there's two wannabe operating nukes (with faulty Replacement Steam Generators recently installed) in close proximity to the known to be active Newport-Englewood fault between San Diego and Los Angeles, or for there to be no public evacuation plans for the municipality in case of accident. The site is a high level nuclear waste dump (as are all our nukes everywhere in the nation) with 4,000 tons of deadly-for-100,000 years garbage sitting in it.
Meanwhile, the California Department of Emergency Services has estimated that a meltdown of just one of San Onofre's reactors could contaminate 16,000 square miles of land at the level used for relocation in the 'dead zone' surrounding Chernobyl. That would include the city now designated as a "shelter zone" for accident evacuees, and the citizens - and their representatives in City Hall - aren't the least bit comfortable with that in the wake of Fukushima. Which more than graphically educated us all about what a nuclear "worst case scenario" looks like.
That plan, drafted by SCE in 1982 without bothering to consult the city of Laguna Beach, specifies that residents should "shelter in place" rather than be evacuated. We also now know that the Japanese citizens in "shelter in place" zones outside the no-go zone in Fukushima have absorbed more dose than those who were evacuated. Rather than expand evacuations to the necessary 50-miles (80.5 kilometers), the Japanese government simply increased the allowable annual dose to 20 mSv in perpetuity. Which is 20 times the allowable in most other nuclear nations on the planet. Nobody in America wants to find themselves in that situation, and now they're doing something about it.
The most interesting (to me) aspect of this story is that SCE's spokesperson made an issue of the fact that the corporation hasn't yet decided whether it will ask for a 20-year license extension when the time comes. Despite the fact that NRC has thus far granted every single license extension requested by every ancient nuclear rustbucket in the nation, no special equipment upgrades or safety retrofits required, no requirements to do anything with the thousands of tons' worth of accumulated high level radioactive waste either. Just build another Olympic-sized swimming pool and you're good to go.
This is something worse than insane, but I don't know a better word for it. San Onofre's 2 reactors provide somewhere between 5 and 7% of California's electricity, and each of them consumes somewhere close to 250 megawatts of electrical energy from the grid on a constant basis just to operate. Nobody ever seems to factor that in when they talk about why we need these monster nukes to supply the "demand." One commenter at the City Council meeting put it this way…
"We wouldn't miss it [San Onofre] if each of us exchanged two light bulbs."I bring this news item to your attention because I think that the 'defense' mounted by the SCE rep is interesting (and possibly hopeful). The whole "we haven't decided to ask for extension yet" deal might mean they have run the numbers and know they can't get the Utilities Commission to AGAIN make the ratepayers buy the new-new steam generators the plant must now have in order to run just to the end of its current licensing period. If they spend the money themselves, they must of course get an extension so the profit margin justifies it. Yet public opinion and NRC upheaval since the Fukushima disaster has put a very large dent in the 'expected' renaissance this industry's been planning. Even if SCE ignored the locals and paid for its own new steam generators, the NRC may yet shut them down anyway just for lousy siting now that Plate Tectonics is an actual accepted science with ramifications.
IOW, they're never likely to make it to 2042 even if they got new-new SGs and the people of California didn't reject nuclear via referendum at some point (which they will if they have to). If they can't replace their replacement SGs without cutting into projected profits to 2022, they won't run through 2022 either. In fact, now that they're both shut down and we know their replacement SGs are shit, they may never operate again. That would be nice.