The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

Decommissioning San Onofre on the cheap puts us all at risk

Edison’s Community Engagement Panel met last Thursday in Oceanside to update the public on plans to decommission the nuclear power plant at San Onofre. If it were not for the fact that Edison has already proven itself to be more concerned with profit than public safety, the average citizen would have been reassured that there was nothing to be concerned about.

Unfortunately, Edison has a history that must be remembered. It was 2010 when San Clemente Green was contacted by concerned nuclear operators who were afraid of retaliation from management for making safety concerns known.

This was only one of the many factors earning them by far the worst safety record, with twenty times more violations than the second worst in the nation.

We were warned in advance about the faulty replacement steam generators that resulted in leaking radiation into the environment in 2012.

Edison knowingly put us all at risk, ignoring their own expert’s warnings. Their risky decision resulted in a very expensive premature shutdown. Currently Edison is under investigation for a backroom deal leaving ratepayers with most of the $4 billion gamble they lost.

Now they find themselves between a rock and a wet place, the Pacific Ocean. With nowhere to take radioactive waste, which amounts to 89 times more than was released in the Chernobyl accident, Edison has come up with a risky and experimental solution.

Their current plan is to bury the waste in the sandstone bluffs, 100 feet from the waves and only inches above the water table, using containers that were only designed for temporary storage.

Rather than spend more money on cast iron canisters that are 20 inches thick, like those used in Europe, they have selected half inch thick stainless steel containers known to have cracking issues in as few as 17 years.

Some of these containers have already been in service for 10 years.

Even with Edison’s overly optimistic projections for when the waste will actually be moved off site, they could leave us with leaking canisters that cannot be transported, even to a temporary storage site.

We all agree that getting this deadly waste out of here ASAP is the top priority, but demanding better storage containers will buy us the time we need to safely store the waste here longer, if needed.

Not doing so allows Edison to put our property values and health at risk once again. Steven Patrick Dunn, who is currently a SVP at City National Bank and was previously the Chief of Global Research at CBRE recently stated that, “All residential real estate from Newport Beach to La Jolla could lose 90 percent to 100 percent of value, and in an instant, billions in mortgage loans become worthless, if there was radiation leaking from San Onofre.”

Please join us in calling for the best storage system available. Write to [email protected], to be added to the list of concerned citizens.

You can find well documented support for our claims at

Gary Headrick is co-founder of San Clemente Green.