— Shutdown — a new film on community action against a California nuclear power plant

From the Ecological Options Network

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A timely and urgent story with global implications

Filmed over eight years, SHUTDOWN (90 min.) documents how a Southern California community empowered itself to force the closure of a leaky nuclear power plant only to face an even more daunting challenge – what to do with the tons of high-level nuclear waste the plant generated – a major safety concern for all of America as dozens of aging nuclear reactors are decomissioned.

Alarmed by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, an urban planner with young children, an environmentalist couple, a university professor, and a retired systems analyst team up to convince the communities surrounding San Onofre to demand that Southern California Edison (SCE) put safety first at its nuclear reactors. Whistleblowers anonymously provide them information about serious safety violations at the plant. 

The communities battle the giant utility and ultimately win the fight to close the ocean front nuclear power plant, located in a densely populated earthquake and tsunami zone between San Diego and Los Angeles. But they soon discover the lethal threat isn’t over. Just yards from the rising sea, over 3 million pounds of high level nuclear waste created on the site is being dumped into thin, damaged canisters, each containing roughly a Chernobyl’s worth of radioactivity.

After the shutdown, another brave whistleblower comes forward and confirms continued horrendous mismanagement of the waste. He reveals that a 54-ton container of intensely irradiated fuel was almost dropped 18 feet onto cement below, which many believe could have caused a major radioactive disaster in the area, home to 8.5 million people.

SHUTDOWN chronicles the persistent efforts of these five people to grapple with a reckless utility inattentive to the severe perils of the lethal waste it must manage, a Federal regulatory agency (NRC) that is in the pocket of the nuclear industry, state agencies that permitted the radioactive dump to be on the beach, shady waste contractors looking for profit, and a government push to move all nuclear waste to another site across the country and dump it on low income communities of color.

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Documenting this critical, but little-known struggle, SHUTDOWN will inform and inspire others faced with aging reactors in their communities, and challenge those now advocating a whole new generation of nuclear power plants.

We’re in the editing studio now, however to complete the film and screen it widely, WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT.  As with other successful mass movements, permanent historical changes only happen when large numbers of people like you realize their involvement is essential to the cause.

To donate, go to https://www.shutdownfilm.com/donate

https://www.shutdownfilm.com/

– San Onofre: California Coastal Commission approves nuclear waste storage on the beach

This photo from San Onofre Safety shows where Southern California Edison wants to store nuclear waste. It’s circled in yellow.

Location of Holtec system. SCE

The company making the canisters has already been in trouble.

By the end of 2011 Holtec International had to close its office in Kiev as it had come under harsh criticism worldwide. It is widely believed that the company has lost licenses in some countries because of the poor quality of its containers resulting in radiation leaksWestinghouse and Holtec are members of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC).
http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/04/us-ukraine-partnership-threatens-new.html

What could go wrong????? This is only located adjacent to millions of Californians and on the ocean.

From San Onofre Safety

Southern California Edison plans to make another bad decision by unsafely storing over 1600 metric tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste.

Below is the proposed location for the Holtec HI-STORM UMAX thin “underground” spent fuel canister system at San Onofre. Half under ground, and close to the water table and about 100 feet from the ocean. Edison admits the Sea Wall hasn’t been maintained so can’t be counted on for protection. This plan doesn’t meet Coastal Act requirements, but Coastal Commission staff think there are no other options, but there are.

Holtec Side View

 Request Coastal Commission REVOKE Nuclear Storage Permit (handout)

Excerpt:

Request Coastal Commission REVOKE Nuclear Storage Permit

The California Coastal Commission granted a Coastal permit for the San Onofre Holtec nuclear waste storage facility with “Special Conditions” that are unlikely or impossible to meet.

Special Conditions require a storage system that can be inspected, repaired, maintained, monitored, and transported without cracks but only after 20 years. The Coastal Commission recognizes the Holtec system does not currently meet these requirements, but have been convinced by Edison and others there are no other reasonable options and someday these problems will all be solved. However, there is insufficient evidence to support that and evidence to the contrary.

Reasons to revoke SoCal Edison Coastal Development Permit #9-15-0228

Coastal requirements for nuclear waste storage should be met now, not deferred 20 years.

The Coastal Commission may not have the jurisdiction to choose casks, but can require their special conditions be met now. Thin (1/2” to 5/8” thick) stainless steel canisters can crack, cannot be inspected,

repaired, maintained or adequately monitored. Cracked canisters cannot be transported. The Coastal Commission should require a system that does not have these flaws and not accept promises of future solutions.

Edison can meet Coastal requirements with thick casks. For example, Areva sells thick (over 10” thick) metal casks to the U.S. market, and to most of the rest of the world for storage and transport.

The Areva TN‐32 and TN‐40 are licensed by the NRC. The TN‐24 used at Fukushima survived the massive earthquake and tsunami. Spent fuel must cool in the pools for a few years, so choosing proven thick storage casks will not significantly delay removing fuel from pools.

Canisters cannot be repaired. Holtec President says these canisters cannot be repaired.

Partially cracked canisters cannot be transported. NRC Regulation 10 CFR § 71.85.

Canisters may crack. The NRC states it takes about 16 years for a crack to go through the wall of thin stainless steel canisters and canisters are vulnerable to cracking from marine environments.

A similar component at the Koeberg nuclear plant failed in 17 years with numerous cracks. A Diablo Canyon canister has all the conditions for cracking in a 2‐year old canister.

No funds are available to relocate this system. Once the system is installed, there are no funds to rebuild and move it to a different site, so it is not reasonable to expect it will be relocated (even onsite).

Edison’s $1.3 billion Spent Fuel Management Plan to the California Public Utilities Commission assumes nothing will go wrong and they will not need to pay to move the fuel on‐site or elsewhere.

Edison’ plan assumes the Dept. of Energy will start picking up the fuel in 2024, which Edison admitted to the CPUC is unlikely.

Vaporware is not a solution. The Coastal Commission should not base decisions on “vaporware” – promises of solutions that do not exist with no guarantee they will exist in the future. Even State of California procurement rules do not allow procurement of “vaporware”.

Edison plans to destroy the spent fuel pools. Pools are the only method to replace canisters.

The Commission should add a special condition to not destroy pools unless a better plan is in place.

Existing 51 thin canisters may have cracks. Fuel loading into thin canisters began in 2003, so “special

conditions” for aging management and related issues should be addressed now.

Act now: Email Joseph.Street@coastal.ca.gov More info & references at SanOnofreSafety.org

Click to access revokecoastalpermit2015-11-5.pdf