To the editor: When one looks at the immensity of the proposed temporary storage facility for spent fuel rods currently kept at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, it is obvious that “temporary” in this case is not in the 10 or 15 years quoted. If it were, the existing water tanks at San Onofre would suffice. (“1,800 tons of radioactive waste has an ocean view and nowhere to go,”
Considering that this has been a known problem for 50 years without an acceptable solution, it would be best for any new storage facility to be robust enough to suffice for many decades or longer.
Why locate it near sea level, which is known to be rising? It should be inland at higher elevation. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, a few miles away from San Onofre, would be suitable. It has the space, and presumably the permitting process could be relatively simple.
Richard Rigney, Long Beach
To the editor: I am a retired nuclear scientist and who worked in the industry for about 40 years. Your article on San Onofre did not mention some history.
At the urging of former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), President Obama halted work on the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository north of Las Vegas. After the election of President Trump, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stated that there are no technical reasons for not licensing the site. So far, we have spent $15 billion on Yucca Mountain.
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter ordered the suspension of all spent fuel reprocessing in the country. This single unscientific order significantly increased the amount of waste that must be isolated.
Both Carter and Reid ignored prominent scientists and engineers, placing this country in this dire situation.
Raj Acharya, Encinitas
To the editor: You do not describe the consequences of leaving the nuclear waste where it is.
Failure of the storage tanks at San Onofre due to an earthquake, a rising ocean or a terrorist attack would render an area of Southern California a vast wasteland for hundreds of thousands of years. The economic loss to California and the nation would be devastating.
Surely, storing such lethal waste in a temporary site far from human population would be a better solution.
Berton Moldow, Laguna Woods
To the editor: San Onofre stands like a monolith of proud science and tech gone sour: Agencies bicker, private and public entities litigate, guards are paid to supervise the site around the clock, and area residents rightly worry about the nuclear waste nearby.
As scientists and engineers try to come up with ways to remove the waste from San Onofre, in the end, we know one salient fact: Dr. Strangelove is still alive, and we don’t know what to do with him.
We desperately need a hero scientist of gargantuan mentality to invent the answer.
Chet Chebegia, San Marcos