The 02/08/2012 OC Register article “Nuclear plant’s neighbors want radiation monitors” covered the 02/07/2012 San Clemente Council meeting, where citizens expressed concerns about lack of radiation data, the need for an independent radiation monitoring system for the public, the need for studies to identify potential local cancer rates from the nuclear plant, and questioned the need for the San Onofre nuclear plant’s energy.
Southern California Edison spokesperson, Gil Alexander, was asked for a response to these concerns. However, citizens were not given the opportunity to respond to his comments.
Here is Edison’s response and questions that still need to be answered.
EDISON: Edison spokesman Gil Alexander attended the meeting but had no comment on the requests for independent monitoring and an epidemiology study. “We were there to listen and to learn more about what our neighbors were thinking,” he said after the meeting.
Asked how much radiation leaked Jan. 31, Alexander said: “I can understand that people would like to hear numbers. We can assure the public that there was so little change in the radiation sensors near the leak that it was barely measurable at all, and there was no change in the sensor readings elsewhere on the property, which means it was minor and it was localized.”
QUESTIONS: Why won’t you provide the measurements? Whose definition are you using for terms such as “little change”, “barely measurable”? How can we trust you when you won’t provide the data?
You state “no change in sensor readings elsewhere on the property means it was minor and it was localized”. How can you say this, when we know radiated steam was released into the air? What were the radiation readings outside of the plant? Do you have those readings? Have you provided those readings to the NRC or state or local governments? Do you have lab results back from the air filters? Were all your monitors operational?
EDISON: Asked about the worker who fell into the pool, Alexander said: “He is doing very well. He experienced no physical injury. We put him through a battery of medical exams and there was no significant radiological contamination. He picked up just a little bit. The water contains a low-level amount of radiation, but examinations of his skin surface and internal testing found no significant contamination. He is healthy and was able to return to work immediately.”
QUESTIONS: What were the actual measurements? Who’s definitions are you using for “no significant”, “just a little bit”, and “low-level amount”?
Did an independent doctor examine him? How can falling in a pool and swallowing radiated water be safe? According to scientists, there is no safe level of radiation. See Health Risks.
EDISON: When asked about both reactors being shut down and the lights still being on, Alexander said: “We can understand that many people are not aware of what it takes to keep the lights on throughout the year. Our customers need twice as much electricity in the summer as they do in the winter. So if you are going to experience a mechanical problem with any (Southern California) power plant, you would hope that it would occur in the winter.”
QUESTIONS: People don’t have to be “aware” of what it takes to keep the lights on throughout the year. They can rely on California Energy Commission and other government data for those answers. Those answers show we have surplus power in the summer without California nuclear power. The fact that last summer we had power without San Onofre (after the September 8th blackout), demonstrates we can survive without San Onofre nuclear power. Where is your documentation that proves otherwise?
The California Energy Commission has asked you for your plan to meet customers’ energy needs if San Onofre is shut down (either unplanned or planned). You have refused to provide answers to their request. Are you relying on “hope” that it only occurs in the winter? What is your plan if San Onofre must be down this summer due to the current steam generator problems?
No one is holding Edison accountable for the problems at San Onofre. That’s why it’s important for citizens to sign the California Nuclear Initiative petition, so we can effectively shut down these unnecessary and dangerous nuclear power plants.