Greg Becker, San Clemente
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, as many in this community will attest to, is an evil place.
There are demons lurking in those fuel rods, which can be broken open and their contents spread across our beaches and schools by the slightest breeze. The regulators of the plant and the officials who preside over it have genuine intent to destroy our community solely out of malice and hatred of our children.
At least that’s what I’ve been reading.
But I worked there for 23 years, as an engineer and control room operator, with some of the most competent and caring people I have ever known. If there is an evil man there twisting his mustache, I have never met him. Every meeting starts and ends with the public’s well-being in mind, and every one of us who cares about people and quality work fully embrace that viewpoint.
Feel free to be skeptical. But let’s look at what the shutdown of SONGS means to San Clemente:
With SONGS gone, San Diego Gas & Electric is importing nearly all of its power, giving us the highest electric rates in the country. It isn’t their fault, nobody wants power plants in their town, nuclear or not.
Many people believe our rates are high due to the cost of SONGS decommissioning. Your SDG&E bill shows your part of the decommissioning cost, mine is 40 cents a month. Because we have no other local power, our rates are high because SONGS shut down. Since the drought took away our hydro generation and with rising gas prices, those rates will continue to climb. Blackouts will soon become our summer norm, so light a candle and sit under the stars. It will all be OK.
Soon all SONGS fuel will be in dry casks, surrounded by two feet of pre-tensioned concrete. The casks themselves have been subjected to tests that would blow your mind. They have been dropped from high bridges, hit by trains and missiles, burned in jet fuel.
Look up “Nuclear Fuel Cask Tests” on Google and see what I mean. It’s good entertainment for the entire family. If you think they can be damaged by an earthquake or tsunami, it would be a better bet to go at the Egyptian pyramids with a claw hammer.
I live around the corner from SONGS with my family and I don’t lose any sleep over spent nuclear fuel. Please, everyone just relax.