Safety Issues Summary

Important safety information for anyone within 50 miles of the San Onofre Nuclear Plant

At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, U.S. officials recommended Americans in Japan evacuate 50 miles. If you live or work in one of these five counties, you may be within the San Onofre 50 mile zone:

Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside,
San Bernardino, San Diego

There is no safe emergency plan. Over 8.7 million people living in a 50 mile radius need to evacuate if there is an emergency at San Onofre. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) does not require a current safe emergency plan for San Onofre (NRC Reg. 50.47).

Radiation from San Onofre will blow inland due to prevailing on-shore wind, so the safest evacuation location is upwind in the Pacific Ocean.

The NRC is under investigation for reducing safety standards in order to keep older nuclear plants running. The NRC has stricter rules for new plants than it does for existing nuclear plants.

San Onofre is not required to add safety systems that the NRC deems too expensive for the value of the lives they could save. The NRC value of a human life is roughly 1/3 to 1/2 the value used by other federal agencies ($3 million vs. $5-9 million).

San Onofre was redesigned for a 7.0 earthquake, but sits next to a fault capable of an 8.0 earthquake — 10 times more powerful and long overdue.

San Onofre unsafely stores tons of toxic radioactive waste and continues to produce over 600 pounds every day. The waste remains radioactive and dangerous to human health for thousands of years.

San Onofre’s “30 foot tsunami wall” is only 14 feet above high tide.

The NRC does not require seismic or tsunami studies for license renewal.  San Onofre was originally licensed to shut down in 2013, but was extended to 2022. Next year they plan to ask for an extension to 2042. The plant was designed in 1973 for a 40-year lifespan.

San Onofre has 10 times more safety violations than the industry average making it the most dangerous nuclear plant of all 64 plants (and 104 reactors) in the nation.

The NRC says San Onofre continues to have serious safety culture problems, including poor decision making and employees reluctant to report safety problems for fear of retaliation from their management.

Human error contributed to all major nuclear disasters in the world.  One human error contributed to Southern California’s 9/8/2011 massive power blackout. It can happen at San Onofre.

In the event of a severe accident at San Onofre, radiation leaks could create a permanent “dead zone” beyond Los Angeles, San Diego, Catalina, and Riverside.

Children and pregnant women are most vulnerable to radiation. Cancer and genetic damage go undetected for years.

Your home and property cannot be insured against a nuclear disaster and reactor owners have limited liability.

San Onofre kills millions of fish and other marine life every year, due to it’s once-through cooling system.


Print or download Safety Facts Summary Sheet

13 Responses to Safety Issues Summary

  1. Sarah says:

    What would it take to close this plant?

  2. Thank you for this excellent compilation of facts and references; which I will be sharing with a San Diego environmental coalition.

  3. shakey says:

    One point on the Richter scale represents 32 times the energy. So, a 8.0 quake is 32 times as powerful as a 7.0 quake.

    Of course the energy can be greater or less in some spots due to

    1. oscillatory nodes (reflection off of rocks could produce a standing wave, and that could create spots with little energy and spots with greatly intensified energy)
    2. focused by geological features (for example, the bulk of the energy might travel “somewhat” between layers of rock, which carries more energy because the energy is dispersed two dimensionally rather than three dimensionally).


  4. Pingback: Public at Risk: Scandals at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station | Boogie Green

  5. Pingback: San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station remains public scandal despite shutdown | Escondido Grapevine

  6. Pingback: Public at Risk: Scandals at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station - Fullerton Observer

  7. Pingback: Fullerton Observer: Scandals at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station put public at risk - Public Watchdogs: Because the Public has a right to know

  8. Christine Flynn Johnston says:

    Thank you Donna Gilmore for all your exhaustive research on this critical issue of mass proportions to the 8.5 million people who live within the 50 mile radius of San Onofre-decommissioned but still extremely dangerous plant.

  9. Bill Smirnow says:

    Donna, thanks for the compilation of data re not “just” San Onofre NPP but for data on commercial reactor sites/facilities across the country. I’ve been passing it around as widely as possible via a variety of sources and people. This [these] is/are really an issue pertaining to at the least the entire northern hemisphere. There are literally thousands of Chernobyls all potentially and inevitably that will be released. Your work in bringing this and the criminality of the nuclear industry and their 90% owned NRC lapdog to the light of day is crucial but almost impossible to get into corporate and even progressive non-corporate media. Lots of us still care and we’ll continue to use your work and pound away at these SOBs.

  10. Pingback: Scandals at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Put Public at Risk, Times of San Diego Opinion - Public Watchdogs: Because the Public has a right to know

Leave a Reply to Christine Flynn Johnston Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s