Patrick Moore is entitled to his opinion on Southern California Edison and the crippled nuclear reactors at San Onofre (“The future of California’s energy portfolio,” Nov. 15). But your readers should be aware that he is a paid mouthpiece for the nuclear industry. His Clean and Safe Energy Coalition was created by the Nuclear Energy Institute to promote expansion of nuclear energy.
So it’s not surprising that on the crisis at San Onofre he parrots Edison’s party line: They won’t restart until it’s safe to do so. But this spin is simply not credible.
Edison’s proposal to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to restart reactor Unit 2 reveals that they have no repair plan or even a timetable for fixing the plant’s damaged steam generators. Instead they propose to operate a broken reactor at partial power and see what happens. It’s a reckless experiment – the same profits-before-safety thinking that drove Edison to replace the original generators with an unproven and unlicensed design that failed in less than two years.
Nuclear power is not clean, safe or efficient – and further, makes no economic sense. The future for California lies in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and the state is well on the way. More than 10 percent of California’s electricity is already provided by solar, wind, biomass or geothermal power, and by law the state must reach 33 percent from renewables by 2020. By then renewable energy will create up to half a million jobs in the state.
The real cost of nuclear energy is too great for California to bear. San Onofre must remain shut down. – Damon Moglen, Energy and Climate director, and Shaun Burnie, Nuclear Campaign adviser, Friends of the Earth, Washington, D.C.
San Onofre: Laguna Hills meeting no substitute for formal court hearings
Posted Nov. 30, 2012 / Posted by: Becca Connors
Friends of the Earth: Public safety must be priority, not securing restart of nuclear reactor
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Tonight Southern California Edison will present to federal regulators its controversial plan to restart one of the crippled reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Friends of the Earth, which is seeking a formal hearing on the reactors’ future, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must put the safety of Southern Californians ahead of Edison’s reckless restart plan.
Tonight’s meeting in Laguna Hills, Calif., promises to be a tightly choreographed exchange of highly technical information between Edison and the NRC, with severely limited opportunity for public comment and no room for meaningful questioning. Such a meeting is no substitute for a public adjudicatory hearing with presentation of evidence and an opportunity to cross-examine expert witnesses, which is what should result from two official proceedings opened by the NRC earlier this month in response to a petition by Friends of the Earth.
“Edison is pushing hard to get NRC approval for what amounts to a reckless experiment with the lives and livelihoods of the 8.4 million people who live within 50 miles of San Onofre,” said Damon Moglen, energy and climate director for Friends of the Earth. “This critical matter should not be considered in another informal meeting, in which the audience is silenced and removed from the real process despite their demands for independent public input and oversight. This matter should be considered in NRC proceedings designed to thoroughly examine the important questions:
• Should the design changes Edison made that resulted in the failure of San Onofre’s steam generators have been allowed without an amendment to the plant’s operating license; and,
• Should this experimental restart plan be allowed to go ahead without subjecting it to the rigorous license amendment process which would have in all likelihood caught these design failures in the first place?”
In response to a petition from Friends of the Earth, on Nov. 8 NRC commissioners directed the agency’s staff to consider whether Edison should have been required to seek a license amendment before installing replacement steam generators that were of a dramatically different design than those the plant is licensed for. The commissioners also directed the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to consider whether Edison’s restart plan requires a license amendment.
San Onofre’s reactors have been closed since January, after a leak of radioactive steam led to the discovery of widespread and unprecedented damage to the steam generator tubes. Edison is now proposing to restart reactor Unit 2 at partial power, even though it has made no repairs and has not detailed plans for future repair. The controversial restart proposal has been widely criticized as a reckless experiment which could lead to a nuclear disaster.
Damon Moglen, (202) 222-0708
Bill Walker, (510) 759-9911