By Eric Heinz, Dana Point Times 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a second webinar on Jan. 24, during which the officials from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) presented their case regarding an incident on Aug. 3.

The incident involved a canister that became stuck on the outer ring of the concrete storage facility, and the NRC stated it did not think it was reported in a timely fashion. More than that, the commission claims SONGS officials did not provide adequate training to some of the on-site contractors.

Southern California Edison, the majority owner of SONGS, said the incident occurred because of inadequate additional training during personnel turnover, as well as not relaying important information to incoming workers. Edison has since said it is taking corrective actions and would get the workers currently at the site up to speed. SONGS has halted the process of moving spent nuclear fuel rods from wet to dry-cask storage since September.

The next step is for the NRC to announce its findings and enforcement proceedings, but a date for that has yet to be announced.

On Jan. 25, Rep. Mike Levin, D-CA, announced that a new task force dedicated to SONGS would be assembled. The objective of the task force is to find ways to get the spent nuclear fuel off the site near the beach.

The task force will meet on “a regular basis,” Levin’s press release stated, to find solutions to moving the waste. Included on the task force are Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering Sr., USN (Ret), and former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko.

Edison officials said they welcome Levin’s task force and are aware of the glacial pace at which nuclear-waste-regulation laws move.

SCE also mentioned its own outreach efforts with the Community Engagement Panel since 2014, and the utility extended an invitation to the congressman to its panel.

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comments (2)

  • Step One: replace these inferior thin-wall canisters with thick-wall transportable storage casks. Until this is done, these canisters are not safe to store or transport.

    The existing thin-wall canisters are already damaged, yet Edison has not and cannot inspect them for cracks or depth of cracks or gouges, let alone know the condition of the highly radioactive nuclear fuel assemblies inside.

    The President of Holtec admitted at a CEP meeting that even if you could find cracks and find a way to repair them, and in the face of millions of curies of radionuclides being released, it’s not feasible to repair them without introducing another problem. See video at SanOnofreSafety.org

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not protecting our safety. They allowed 29 Holtec canisters to be damaged from the Holtec defective loading system. This system design cannot be fixed and the NRC admits it . Yet they refuse to require Holtec and Edison to quit using this system and have not officially documented and analyzed this problem. They did not require Edison to even file an Event Notice with the NRC. This appears to be a coverup with the NRC complicit.

    Edison and the NRC must be stopped from allowing 43 more canisters to be loaded and damaged (due to gouging of canister walls against a steel canister MPC guide ring). Each canister holds roughly a 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

    Mike Levin is concerned about the safety of the system, but for some reason that is not mentioned in this article, even though it was on Levin’s press release that announced the new Task Force. A big thank you to Mike Levin for taking a leadership role on this most important issue for Southern California and beyond.

    Where is Senator Harris and Feinstein on this issue? They are not even discussing canister problems publicly?

    Where is Governor Newsom? As a former member of the State Land Commission, he was there when Edison submitted a request to tear down the spent fuel pools and other buildings. The pools need to stay until Edison has another method to replace canisters.

    Edison and the NRC are also hiding the radiation levels from the aging San Onofre Areva NUHOMS canister which are already up to 15 years old. They refuse to provide oulet air vent radiation levels and refuse to explain why some inlet air vents are reading much higher than others on the NUHOMS system. What are they hiding?

    The push to send these damaged canisters to New Mexico or Texas is fatally flawed. Neither proposed facility will take leaking canisters. And the New Mexico Holtec system is the same defective system used at San Onofre. The Texas proposed system is the same defective Areva NUHOMS system used at San Onofre.

    Transporting these defective thin-wall canisters somewhere else will no more solve our nuclear waste problem than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic would stop it from sinking.

  • Climate change and raising tides had been poorly address and I have yet to see a safety plan in place for earthquake or terrorist activity!
    There doesn’t seem to be one from SCE or NRC !

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