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Community group to fight San Onofre nuclear waste plan

san-onofre-deadfGroup forms to fight San Onofre nuclear waste plan, San Diego Union Tribune  By Jeff McDonald  June 2, 2016  Residents of San Diego and Orange counties concerned about the longterm storage of radioactive waste on the coast between Oceanside and San Clemente have organized a new coalition aimed at forcing the removal of tons of spent nuclear fuel.

The group, calling itself Secure Nuclear Waste, is comprised of lawyers, activists, a scientist, an elected official and an emergency-room physician. It is hosting a community meeting at Laguna Beach City Hall next Wednesday evening.

“The deadly radioactive waste is toxic to humans for millions of years,” the group said in a news release criticizing a California Coastal Commission storage permit approved in October. “If nothing is done, the waste could be buried on the beach as early as May 2017 for up to 300 years.”

Secure Nuclear Waste said it organized as a counter to the Community Engagement Panel, a group of volunteers convened by plant owner Southern California Edison to meet regularly and discuss decommissioning of the failed San Onofre nuclear plant.

 The new group complained that the Community Engagement Panel unfairly favors Edison and is not truly representative of the public……..

Members of Secure Nuclear Waste include San Diego consumer attorneys Michael Aguirre and Maria Severson. It also includes Charles Langley of the consumer group Public Watchdog, geologist Robert Pope and transportation consultant Nina Babiarz.

San Juan Capistrano Mayor Pam Patterson, who serves on the Community Engagement Panel due to her elected office, also joined Secure Nuclear Waste. She said the official group is not independent and not forceful enough opposing onsite spent-fuel storage at San Onofre.

“People on the Community Engagement Panel have been hand-picked because they are candy-coating the situation,” Patterson said. “The community needs to understand what’s going on is not in anybody’s best interest. It’s scary what they are doing.”

The Coastal Commission permit, now the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Aguirre & Severson law firm, allows Edison to store 1,600 tons of spent fuel in underground canisters just north of the shuttered nuclear reactors.

The spent fuel historically has been stored in above-ground cooling ponds but Edison is in the process of transferring the waste into steel-lined casks. More than 100 of the 45-ton canisters will then be buried in a massive tomb embedded in the beach.

Critics say the plan does not allow for monitoring the canisters for future degradation or leaks and presents a health threat to the millions of people who live and travel through the region. They say regulators should do a better job mitigating the longterm threat.

“It is an outrage that taxpayers are funding politically appointed bureaucrats at state agencies to create a deadly toxic waste landfill next to an interstate highway and the Los Angeles-San Diego coastal rail corridor,” said Babiarz, the transportation consultant and coalition member. “Our two counties have united to fight this threat to public safety.”……

The first Secure Nuclear Waste meeting convenes Wednesday, June 8 at 6 p.m. at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave.

The Community Engagement Panel next meets June 22, when a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission expert will discuss so-called consolidated interim storage, the practice or temporarily storing radioactive waste on site until a more permanent federal site is identified.


June 4, 2016 - Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes

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