— Did we almost lose Southern California in August? Investigation of San Onofre

From Ecological Options Network/No Nukes California
October 8, 2018

Nuclear-Waste-Dump by-the-Sea

The controversial loading of high-level nuclear waste in thin-walled steel canisters into concrete silos just yards from the beach at Southern California Edison’s shutdown San Onofre nuclear plant has been temporarily halted by potentially game-changing events that happened early in August.  Some experts say the near accident could have been as serious as Chernobyl and Fukushima all rolled into one.

Here are background video reports and commentary from systems analyst Donna Gilmore.

Holtec Nuclear Safety Problems Says Whistleblower

Whistleblower David Fritch reveals Holtec engineering and safety problems at San Onofre nuclear waste facility on Camp Pendleton near a San Diego County public beach close to San Clemente. Southern California Edison response by Tom Palmisano. Camp Pendleton spokesman comments. Tom Palmisano claims that Edison is in compliance with its NRC license. Donna Gilmore, SanOnofreSafety.org,, challenges his claim by citing the NRC license. She states that Edison has no way to unload damaged canisters as required by its NRC licnese.

2nd video:

Expert warns of the potential for a catastrophic event after San Onofre workers nearly dropped a canister of nuclear waste last month.

Donna Gilmore, founder of SanOnofreSafety.org, comments:

Thanks to Tom English for speaking out! Great job, Tom. (see video above)

We need more experts speaking out.

We need our state and federal government to deny Edison and Holtec the ability to operate anything nuclear in California and the United States.

Twice Holtec almost dropped a 49 ton thin-wall canister filled with fragile and hot high burnup nuclear fuel rods almost 18 feet.

Holtec ignored employee warnings that working blind with only 1/2″ clearance between the steel canister and steel MPC Guide ring was not safe. Employee requests for a camera and a redesigned guide ring were ignored by Holtec. The all important deadline from Edison for a January 2019 completion date was the priority.

Edison was complicit and hid the information about the two drops from the public and the NRC.

Edison knew Holtec loaded over half the canisters at Diablo Canyon incorrectly, but hired Holtec anyway to install the Holtec  unproven UMAX dry storage system at the beach.

Does Holtec have to drop a canister and destroy Southern California before our state and federal elected officials and regulators will realize these companies should lose all the licenses and permits they have for anything to do with nuclear?

Will the Navy cancel Edison’s lease before they destroy Camp Pendleton? This is a national security issue that should supersede any authority the NRC has to stop the Navy.

The NRC’s history is to rubberstamp everything with a slap on the hand, so we cannot count on them to do their job.

The NRC is knowingly allowing Edison and other facilities to store these highly radioactive thin-wall nuclear waste canisters without a backup plan if something goes wrong. If they or Edison or Holtec say otherwise, they are not telling the truth. I have proof.

In addition, San Onofre has higher than normal radiation readings from the inlet air vents where the up to 15 year old San Onofre Areva NUHOMS thin-wall canisters are stored by the beach. The NRC refuses to tell us why, or whether some of the canisters are already leaking from through-wall cracks. 

They refuse to tell us the radiation levels from the outlet air vents where radiation levels will be highest from through-wall cracks.

Instead, they plan to allow Edison to stop measuring and reporting outlet air vent radiation levels to the NRC. The NRC already approved this for Calvert Cliffs. Calvert Cliffs has 25 year-old canisters. No one knows if those are leaking.

The “good” news is the oldest Areva canisters use stainless steel fuel rods instead of zirconium. And fuel is not high burnup, which damages the fuel and fuel rods. (Zirconium powder is used to make fireworks explode.)

If the oldest canisters had Zirconium fuel rods, especially with high burnup fuel, they would explode once rods are exposed to air from through wall cracks in the canisters. High burnup fuel causes zirconium hydrides that when combined with air create hydrogen gas. Zirconium hydride ignites at 270 degrees C.

Thanks to David Fritch for alerting the public to the near catastrophe. Without him, no one would know.  He was brave enough to speak up. Now we need our state and federal elected officials and regulators to step up before it is too late. If they won’t, then lets bring in the Marines.

Here are comments I recently submitted to the NRC that address many of these explosive issues.

NRC NUREG-2224 High Burnup Storage and Transport Comments by Donna Gilmore, September 24, 2018

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Donna Gilmore

To view the article and 2 videos