Thank you Rita Robinson for your timely article, “Group Calls for Keeping San Onofre Closed,” Jan. 18 edition. Many signs show SCE plans to restart one reactor dome in March. I have attended all of the NRC meetings held here in Southern California. At the last one in November I could not believe that SCE is pushing still to reopen this old plant in a high-risk earthquake zone in a firestorm region with over 4,000 tons of radioactive waste on the site already and no place to store it.
Art Howell is NRC’s Region IV second in command. He asked many hard questions of SCE that evening and made it clear that calculations from the new Athos computer model to predict how “in plane vibrations” will be changed with a 70 percent start-up force is a new design “prediction” of safety for the 20,000 steam generator pipes in this dome No. 2 that keep the dangerous radioactive “rods” of this 30 year old plant cooled properly.
Art Howell has obvious doubts, but he will not be one of the NRC decision makers. Two years ago a different computer model called Fit III said the plant was safe, and it wasn’t.
San Onofre has the worst safety record of all of the nuclear plants. There is a great deal of money to be made, especially the huge salaries of the SCE executives who tell us the plant is safe. San Onofre has been closed for a year. Nine percent of Southern California’s electricity before it closed a year ago came from San Onofre nuclear plant. We have taken measures to survive without it for a year. The restart experiment for five months will be of one unit running at 70% power. Therefore, for 3% of Southern California’s electricity, how can we risk Oceanside to Laguna Beach closed down as a dead zone for over 20,000 years if this computer model proves wrong, and we get the bad luck of a 7.2 earthquake that would begin Fukushima here.
I encourage everyone to write Gov. Jerry Brown, c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814. A small number of knowledgeable, dedicated groups have spear-headed the public awareness of San Onofre’s dangers since March 2011 when Fukushima’s tragedy made us concerned about our nuclear plant. All of us need to take the time to make this shut down permanent.
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