San Onofre is Dead, the Nuclear Waste Isn’t via Counterpunch

I think Edison deserves credit for making a wise decision to permanently close the San Onofre nuclear plant. I support the decision. It’s good for business, good for California, good for the environment. It’s the correct engineering decision to make. San Onofre was irreparably damaged by vibration.

Unfortunately we are now left with one of the largest, most concentrated nuclear waste piles on the planet. This will be an eternal problem, but thankfully it is no longer a growing problem and is becoming safer by the day. It will take millions of years — not just days — to be safe, but at least we are headed in the right direction.

The employees of San Onofre have been honorable opponents and I hope they all find jobs in the solar and wind technology energy sectors. However, the investigations should proceed, at the state level, at the federal level, and at the personal level, we should all continue to ask why nuclear power is used anywhere?
FOE deserves enormous credit for their role in this event. Southern California narrowly avoided its own Fukushima on January 12th, 2012. Eight tubes in Unit three were worn enough to fail pressure tests, and one tube in Unit two was 90% worn. Unexpected vibration had done them in.

But with bullheaded determination, SCE tried to restart anyway. The 70% plan has been lingering around since nearly the beginning of the outage. Some restart plan, any restart plan. But first, FOE hired Arnie Gundersen to look into the matter, who is a world-renowned expert in steam generator technology, and then they hired a slew of other experts to confirm his findings. Independent experts, independent, that is, of SCE, NRC, and FOE also confirmed that SanO’s u-tubes were beyond repair. But Arnie did the hard discovery work first. Then he explained it again and again, to activists, reporters, and regulators.

Arnie Gundersen is a hero to science and reason.

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