[ RadSafe ] Former Carter Administration Advisor Slams San Onofre Plan to Bury Spent Fuel Casks on Shoreline

Roger Helbig rwhelbig at gmail.com
Wed Jun 28 04:55:42 CDT 2017

This come through nuclear news, but is from news station near the
reactor plant - wanted you to know and comment.  There still is an
activist drive to prevent this from happening.

Roger Helbig

I see where he is misinformed about two spent fuel pools at Fukushima
having melted down completely - wonder if he really is the expert that
he is claimed to be.

Nuclear Expert Slams Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Waste Storage Plan

by Christina MacPherson

June 27, 2017, By Amita Sharma, Talks continue to find a storage site
for radioactive waste away from San Onofre nuclear power plant. Unless
there is an agreement, millions of pounds of the toxic material will
be partially buried near the shoreline at San Onofre. KPBS
Investigative Reporter Amita Sharma recently spoke to Tom English on
the beach near San Onofre. He is a one-time advisor to former
President Jimmy Carter on high-level nuclear waste disposal.

Q: You’re a nuclear waste expert who’s given talks at the White House
on this topic. You think Edison’s plan is a bad idea, why?

A: Several reasons. One is they’re basically going to put the stuff in
a thin storage container which probably will have some problems with
corrosion given this ocean environment here. The second idea is
they’re going to store it such that it will be about 100 feet from the
water and a few inches above the groundwater table which is totally
ridiculous. As the sea level rises, what will happen is the bottom of
the containers will corrode.

Q: Why do you think Edison wants to use this dry cask storage method
and actually got the backing to do it from the California Coastal

A: What happened is our attitude toward storage of spent fuel in a
fuel pool changed with Fukushima. We had two pools melt down
completely. And this scared everybody and caused a big furor and
caused them to want to do something better. So it is a very good idea
to take the fuel out of the pool and put it into dry storage. It’s
just the choices that they made here were awful, far worse than
leaving it in the spent fuel pool.

Q: You’re also worried about Edison’s San Onofre nuclear waste storage
plan because you think it’s especially vulnerable to terrorism. Tell
me about that.

A: If you leave the spent fuel in the spent fuel pool, you have two
large concrete structures surrounding the spent fuel pool that will
partially protect it against an attack. When you bring it out here
near the ocean on the beach, what you have is no real protection. So a
terrorist could find this to be a fairly easy target and if something
were to happen here we would evacuate about 50 miles worth of people
around San Onofre which would basically shut down the economy of
Southern California.

Q: Dr. English, what are some of the alternatives to storing the waste
at San Onofre?

A: There are three main ones. One is to simply move it to another
Southern California Edison site like in Arizona. That way you’d at
least be away from the beach. And it’s already licensed for this sort
of thing. Another alternative would be to move it across the street to
Camp Pendleton where it’s surrounded by a bunch of Marines and you
wouldn’t have any overflights of airplanes so it would be much safer
there from any kind of terrorist attack. A third alternative would be
to go to Yucca Mountain where we know a lot about the geology of the
area and basically make a part of it into temporary interim storage.
And you could take all this waste and store it there for 100 years
while they figure out how to solve the long-term problem and I think
the three of those are much better than what we have here.

Q: If a storage site away from San Onofre can’t be found and the waste
ends up being stored here for the long haul, there’s the matter of sea
level rise. Projections show that San Onofre will be inundated by
seawater by the turn of the century. What kind of threat does that
pose to humans and to the sea?

A: Well, if you have these canisters sitting in seawater it’s much the
same as dumping the high-level waste into the ocean. And so this has a
severe threat on both the aquatic life and human life.

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