The San Onofre nuclear plant is an accident waiting to happen!
Eight million people in California will soon be endangered by America’s most dangerous nuclear power plant if the Southern California Edison power company has its way.
The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), which sits on the beach between Los Angeles and San Diego, was shut down temporarily in January after it was found to be leaking radioactive steam. But incredibly, Southern California Edison — the primary electricity provider for over 14 million people in Southern California — is now trying to bring the dangerous nuclear energy plant back online.1
This plant is unsafe, but it’s also totally unnecessary. Even without the San Onofre nuclear plant, there’s enough power generating capacity in Southern California to keep the lights on even on the hottest days of the year.2 We need to shut this plant down permanently, and force Southern California Edison to stop delaying implementation of clean, safe renewable energy generating systems.
When this plant was shut down in January for maintenance, it was discovered that it had been leaking radioactive steam from the new steam generators that had just been installed in 2010. These new generators, which were installed at a cost of $700 million, were expected to allow the plant to remain open for many more years. But flaws in the design of these new parts led to an unexpectedly short lifespan despite the high cost of installation.
This came as no surprise to anyone who’s been tracking this plant. Data collected by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shows that the San Onofre nuclear plant is a disaster waiting to happen. Not only does the plant have more complaints of safety problems from employees and contractors than any other nuclear power plant in the country,3 but it’s also the site of the most complaints of employee harassment and retaliation, meaning that employees who notice safety problems and try and speak out are being punished.4
Even worse, this plant is just five miles from the nearest earthquake fault line, and recent research has shown that it’s probably at higher risk of damage from an earthquake than previously thought. Not to mention the fact that it’s built on the beach of the Pacific Ocean — just like the Fukushima plant that experienced a meltdown in 2011 — making it susceptible to tsunami waves.
Southern California Edison is endangering the lives of millions for a power plant they don’t need. The company needs to refocus efforts on renewable energy, and save Californians from a dangerous and aging nuclear power plant.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s new Chairman, Allison Macfarlane, can use her position to convince the commission’s other members that this plant shouldn’t reopen. She’s been an outspoken critic of nuclear dangers, like the Yucca Mountain complex. She needs to know how important it is to Californians that Southern California Edison isn’t allowed to put our state at risk for a major nuclear incident.1. Dave Rice, “San Onofre: Even Longer Shutdown or Restarting Soon?” sandiegoreader.com, July 23, 2012
2. Morgan Lee, “Top grid regulator: SoCal in ‘fine shape’ for summer without San Onofre,” utsandiego.com, June 4, 2012
3. “San Onofre nuclear power plant has the worst safety record,” sanonofresafety.org
4. Abby Sewell, “San Onofre whistle-blowers less protected than others in California,” latimes.com, July 4, 2012