The problems with the crippled San Onofre nuclear reactors could impact 8.4 million people living within 50 miles of the coastal site. Though both reactors have been offline since January, when a radioactive leak in the newly-replaced steam generators of the San Onofre Unit 3 reactor led to an emergency shut down, the subsequent inspections revealed unprecedented and pervasive wear in the identically-designed replacement steam generators in both reactor units. If the San Onofre reactors restart operations and this defective equipment suffers a tube rupture accident – which could have been the first indication of the leakage problems this year, according to a special Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) task force, but luckily did not happen – nearby communities could be exposed to a massive release of radiation. This is a completely unacceptable and unnecessary risk.
Ensuring that public safety and community well-being is the highest priority requires active and engaged community members. We need your help to demand that these faulty reactors stay shuttered. The steam-generator replacement design that Southern California Edison, the utility running San Onofre, first submitted for approval was categorized as so-called “like-for-like” replacements – meaning any changes made would be so minor that they would not impact the safety or operations of the reactors in any way. But in reality, Edison made major modifications to the design of these generators – changes that ultimately led to the reactors’ rapid failure within two years of operation.
While Edison did present this design to federal regulators under an inappropriate, private, and rubberstamped process, the NRC regional staff also failed to recognize the significance of the design changes when they occurred and chose to look the other way. Instead of holding Edison accountable to the appropriate license amendment process – and the critical safety review this process requires – regional NRC staff accepted the misleading and defective reactor design under the perfunctory rubberstamp process. This regulatory oversight failure ultimately jeopardized the safety of millions of people in Southern California.
We must demand that the NRC allow us to have a meaningful role in the proposed restart or repair of these reactors – it’s our right to be a part of that discussion. We also must make sure that Edison knows we don’t support their operations at San Onofre. You can sign our petition to the CEO of Edison here, which explains why we think the reactors are too dangerous to reopen and implores him to think of the health and safety of the 8.4 million people who would be affected, as well as the environmental damage that would result from a tube rupture.
We cannot allow the same entities that caused the problems – Edison and the NRC Region IV staff – to continue to make these decisions behind closed doors. We deserve to be a part of the discussion and debate regarding these faulty reactors.
Your voice is absolutely essential to ensure that the safety and health of Southern Californian communities is put first.