This Week’s Featured Interviews:
Tonga tsunami nuclear dangers are explored in two featured interview this week. We look at the possible impact both on Fukushima and United States domestic nuclear reactor sites, most specifically San Onofre in southern California
- Nancy Foust is Communications Manager & Research Team Member SimplyInfo.org, a not-for-profit research collective that holds and manages the world’s largest public archive of data on the Fukushima disaster. We spoke about the Tonga underwater volcano eruption of January 15 and what’s currently known about the impact of its resulting tsunami on Fukushima in Japan.
- Public Watchdogs is a nonprofit advocacy group focused on the shuttered San Onofre nuclear generating station in southern California. San Onofre is now, in essence, a nuclear waste dump, with 3.6 Million pounds of deadly radioactive nuclear waste stored on site, on the beach, 108 feet from the Pacific Ocean, in a USGS designated tsunami inundation zone. We talked with its two heads to find out how the Tonga tsunami has affected San Onofre and point out what other problems could be manifest:
- Public Watchdogs Executive Director Charles Langley holds as his personal vision to: “unscrew the inscrutable” through lucid communications on complex regulatory and infrastructure issues. I embrace the conviction that access to clean water and affordable, sustainable energy is a fundamental human right, that when honored, sustains life, nourishes human dignity, and encourages world
- Board member Nina Babiarz began her career in journalism and has high level experience in: Training Development/Delivery Coordination, Facilitation, Project and Program Management, Strategic Planning, Negotiation, Marketing Materials Development and Outreach Delivery.
- Public Watchdogs Executive Director Charles Langley holds as his personal vision to: “unscrew the inscrutable” through lucid communications on complex regulatory and infrastructure issues. I embrace the conviction that access to clean water and affordable, sustainable energy is a fundamental human right, that when honored, sustains life, nourishes human dignity, and encourages world
Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness):
Does France actually think those new, untried nuclear reactor designs from EDF are going to be approved by 2023 and operational by 2037??? On time and on budget will be new concepts for any nuclear new build… but from EDF? Sacre bleu!
- Can Santa Fe Survive as a Nuclear Weapons Suburb? – Op-ed by Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group.
- New Mexico Archbishop Pushes for Nuclear Disarmament
- Why is the Santa Susana Nuclear Accident Still Being Covered Up? by Warren Olney
Nuclear. Toonami the January 15 explosion of an underwater volcano near the island of Tonga sent out a massive Toonami in all directions and putting nuclear facilities sited on the Pacific and using its waters for cooling at risk. While the obvious focus of Toonami danger is in Japan at Fukushima, the threat of tsunami inundation exists all around the Pacific rim, and it seems that no nuclear entities are taking it seriously enough as a threat to take necessary safety measures. So when you hear confirmation of that from an expert on the defunct, but still dangerous, San Onofre, nuclear reactors, and radioactive waste in Southern California, and she tells you
Perspective Southern California Edison and even their parent company, Sempra that continues to enable this perspective, as well as the nuclear regulatory commission is somewhat in denial of the inevitable tsunami hitting the Southern California coastline. And in that regard, they’re playing Russian roulette with the public safety.
Well, just because a bad enough to NAMI hasn’t happened yet to inundate Santa ano fray and other nuclear facilities doesn’t mean that it can’t and won’t plus the volcanic activity at Tonga may not be over nor are they out of any of the rest of the Pacific rim. So when you understand that, you begin to understand how all encompassing is that dangerous, deadly seat that we all share
Clear hot seat. What are those people thinking? Nuclear hot seat. What have those boys been breaking their hot seat? Ms. Sinking, our time to act is shrinking, but Hotsy, it’s debacle.
Welcome to nuclear. Hotseat the weekly international news magazine keeping you up to date on all things nuclear from a different perspective. My name is Leiby Halevi. I am the producer and host as well as a survivor of the nuclear accident at three mile island from just one mile away. So I know what can happen when those nuclear so-called experts get it wrong. This week, we take a closer look at the January 15 underwater, volcanic eruption near the island nation of Tonga and the tsunami that ensued. We’ll talk first with Nancy Faust of simply info.org who let us know about what happened in Japan and specifically Fukushima as a result of that tsunami, hitting the Japanese, then an illuminating discussion of what that tsunami means. 6,000 miles away from its point of origin at the Santa Ana fray nuclear generating station in Southern California, it’s defunct, but the radioactive waste stored there is still dangerous and vulnerable to a water-based breach.
We talk with Charles Langley and 900 Babby ares of public watchdogs to get their take on why and how, what happened in Tonga does not stay in Tonga and how woefully unprepared we are to deal with the possible consequences. We will also have nuclear news from around the world numnuts of the week for outstanding nuclear bone headedness, and more honest nuclear information than would ever survive a us Senate. Filibuster, all of it coming up in just a few moments today is Tuesday, January 18th, 2022. And here is this week’s nuclear news from a different perspective, starting out with the latest news we have about the underwater volcanic eruption off the island of Tonga in the Pacific and the resulting to NAMI the eruption took place on January 15 with a blast that was heard as far away as Alaska as the explosion took place, the displaced water and debris created a cloud, not unlike a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion.
And it could be seen clearly from space. NASA researchers have estimated that the power of this massive volcanic eruption had the explosive force of around 10 mega tons of TNT equivalent, which is more than 500 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, the explosion caused a massive Toonami that he had all around the Pacific rim nations causing concern most specifically in Fukushima in Japan, to learn more about that tsunamis impact on Fukushima, we spoke with Nancy Faust. She is communications manager and research team [email protected], which is a not-for-profit research collective that holds and manages the world’s largest public archive of data and the Fukushima disaster we spoke on the morning of Monday, January 17th, 2022.
thank you so much for taking the time this morning on such short notice to speak with us here at nuclear hot seat. Hi, glad to be here. This is about the underwater volcanic eruption that took place in Tonga and its possible impact on TUPE Shima and where we stand now. So let’s start out with what was your first awareness of this eruption and the fact that it might have an impact on previous Seamus?
The first information we got of it was through Japanese media when they started setting off tsunami warnings, you know, as we saw those come out, we started looking at cause and realized how big this really was, that, you know, one, the cause wasn’t an earthquake. It was a cause of it was caused by a volcano, which is apparently fairly unusual for tsunami also that it was impacting just about everywhere along Pacific coastlines, New Zealand, Australia, south America, all the way up to Alaska and some of the predictions hitting to can where they weren’t 2011 levels of dire, but they were concerning. And some of them, they were, you know, issuing straight up warnings, telling people, you know, you have to get to higher ground immediately. So we immediately started looking at what was going on in, in a little more detail.
I saw pictures from the coast of Oregon and this was when a tsunami surge was hit. And there was a woman who was actually there, she survived, but she was up to her waist in water before it was over and she almost got swept out. So this was very serious. How long after the eruption began, did the Toonami begin to hit Japan?
It was about eight to 10 hours. Japan’s meteorological agency has ocean buoys that they use to detect occurrences in the wave patterns that indicate that there may be a tsunami. This is similar to what many other countries have. So they weren’t issuing tsunami warnings immediately. When the volcano exploded, they started issuing them as they started seeing abnormalities in their tracking systems. So we’re looking at, you know, eight to 10 hours after the initial explosion of the volcano, they started triggering tsunami warnings and telling people, you know, get away from the beaches. If you’re in certain areas, you need to completely evacuate
Keeping Fukushima in our focus. What were the vulnerabilities or what are the vulnerabilities there for another water surge from a Toonami,
There were a number of number of things that are still vulnerable at the plant, but I want to go back for a minute back to 2011. So you Shida who was the plant manager during the initial disaster. And he was still there in the subsequent years right after. And he made a very big deal trying to get TEPCO to put up some temporary tsunami measures on the sea front to protect what, you know, what was left. So nothing was made worse. If there was another tsunami hitting the plant TEPCO told him no, just completely told him no. He ended up going to the Japanese media and just basically went on TEPCO and told the public that he did this to force Tepsco’s hand Tepsco did put some temporary measures in place. They are now in the last year or two have been putting in some small concrete walls to provide a little bit more permanent tsunami measures. But this has all been kind of late and very reluctant on Tepsco’s behalf, which in this situation, 2022, we’re really lucky that the waves that did hit the plant were not super tall. They were only about a meter. So, you know, there are many things that were at risk during this and that we still don’t know about, but the big scary scenario didn’t happen. But boy, is it a reminder that, you know, Tepsco’s compulsion to ignore things really is a risk.
What kind of follow-up does Pepco do to find out if there was any damage to they have sensors? Do they send people on site? How is the examination done
Typically when there’s some sort of weather event and this isn’t necessarily weather, but it kind of falls into the same category of, you know, natural events. They send people out to do visual walkouts, but they’ve completed those, but they’re very superficial. They’re just looking for very obvious damage. They’re not going in and deeply inspecting things. They’re just double checking. You know, if it’s a system that’s at risk, is it still running? That kind of thing? What they will do is over the next week, we’ll probably start finding out more information about things that may have actually sustained some damage at the plant.
So this is information that’s going to be rolling out over the next days and week, if not weeks.
How transparent do you expect those assessments from TEPCO to be? Is there any kind of oversight to what they’re doing to make certain that they do not overlook something of importance or they failed to report it to the public?
There’s some oversight. The new nuclear regulator in Japan does kind of keep an eye on things, but there still are multitudes of ways where things fall to the wayside. Don’t get looked at. There isn’t any official stance on this. You know, if there’s a typhoon or a tsunami, there isn’t like a checklist that they have to, that they’re mandated to send to Japan’s nuclear regulator or inform the public about. So it’s kind of voluntary. That’s probably the best way to put it. When there have been other events like there’ve been typhoons and they’ll put out these initial everything’s fine reports. And then as the next couple of weeks, go on, we find out that, oh, there was damage to water tanks. There was damage to this. There was damage to that. And you know, we expect some of that with this event where we’ll probably hear in the next couple of weeks of things that actually did sustain some damage. The only good news about this is if there was something super dangerous, super critical that had been damaged in this, that they would have probably been obligated to tell the nuclear regulator, because there are certain things that they have to keep in place like, you know, cooling and containment type features on what’s what for the reactors,
Another relevant concern is the large piles of contaminated soil bags that have been stored along the Fukushima coast on beaches and in low lying areas and riverbanks near the coast. What are the possible dangers to these contaminated soil storage bags from the tsunami that did hit and might the inundation levels put these bags at risk of being swept out to sea.
We’ve already seen evidence of this and other natural disasters. There have been a couple of typhoons in recent years that had slipped away soil bags that were stored along riverbanks, near Fukushima de Archie. And these are gone. There was number of them. They were unable to retrieve and they were just sitting on a low line riverbank. So, you know, when all of this rain and invasion happened, it just swept the bags away. And we see lots of this where these stashes of soil are lightly regulated. No one is making smart decisions about where a storm they’re just storing them kind of wherever. And this is where we got to what you were mentioning of these massive soil storage locations on beaches, which is just mind boggling that anyone thought this was a good idea. There are a number of them that have been documented on the Fukushima coast where they’ll take an entire beach and just stack up these bags of contaminated soil, right at sea level. And we have yet to see any reports of the condition of those what has happened. So that’s something we’re definitely looking for information on is, you know, how much of that is still in place and how much of it has been damaged because we assume there’s at least some damage that has happened.
What do we know about the condition of these bags and how well they’re holding up? Because they do have, I think it is a five-year useful life, three to five years, something like that. And they are beyond that timeframe. What do we know about their condition as of now,
Total that was found to be stored on beaches showed up around 20 14, 20 15. So that tells us that if they are still in the original bags, that those bags are reaching or past their lifespan, which means the bags that these, that the soil is stored in is likely in a degraded state. And this has been an ongoing problem again, where it’s something that’s getting neglected. There are some situations where people made enough noise. The environment ministry would have soiled Rebag, but this is a really rare thing where we found instances of that actually happening. So most of this is just being left Herat on the beach. So this is of course, adding to the concern that one potentially inundated by tsunami waves, to some extent, and that the soil that was stored there may have been in older bags that had reached their lifespan and are more prone to rupture. These bags are made out of polyethylene, this kind of heavy canvas plastic canvas. And as that degrades, that can just break apart.
Do we know anything about the early construction of the tunnel that TEPCO is purportedly going to use to dump the trivia, rated water, the radioactive water that it has been storing from Fukushima over 1 million, 200,000 tons of it into the Pacific that was just started under construction. Do we know if there is any damage to that as yet,
Topeka mentioned nothing about this in their walk down report that was posted this morning, and it is a big concern. They have a large construction rig that they had floated out into the port, and this was supposed to be the equipment. They need to start doing the work for the base for this pipe. So it’s really early initial work. What we’re concerned about is what happened to that rig that they have out in the port know, was it displaced? Could it have tipped over those kinds of things? And so the fact that TEPCO didn’t mention anything about it was a little concerning and that’s something we’re keeping an eye on. As far as the pipe itself, since they hadn’t started actually putting out the pipe chase itself, you know, there’s no concern that that has been damaged further, but of course, whatever work they had completed on setting the foundation for it may have been damaged in this. But we don’t know at this point
We’ve been discussing the eruption that began on January 15th. Now, just before I got on with you, I learned that there’s been a new volcanic eruption on Tonga at around 9:45 AM Japan time, which is 2:45 AM Pacific time. And that’s as of today, January 17, Monday as we are recording this, is there any word that you have received yet about a possible second set of Toonami risks from this eruption?
No, not yet. And that’s news to me that this had happened. I’d been keeping an eye on Japanese news up until about oh two hours ago. So at that point there wasn’t anything, but this is of course a new concern if there’s, and this was something the meteorological agency had mentioned the other day is we don’t know if this is the right
Meaning. There could be other eruptions as indeed. There apparently was one today. This came from TD new SU reported there B eruptions to the best of anybody’s knowledge are not yet over. And the danger has not passed. What is any additional protections can be put in, even on short notice, should the volcano at Tonga erupt again, or perhaps multiple times a sequence of time,
The way things are situated at the plant, what is vulnerable is going to be vulnerable because anything that could potentially act as a seawall, so is going to take an extreme amount of time to install. So what defense they have is pretty much what they’re going to have to ride this out with. They’ve got these large portable barricades that they had put up in some places they’ve got concrete in some other concrete barricades and some other ones, but they’re just going to have to ride it out with what the,
And for clarity, what are the sources you use for the information that you are using a crinkly info? We have a couple of
The different sources where we find information. When we get information from TEPCO themselves, we get information from the regulators in Japan. There are also some other related agencies that are tied to nuclear power and environmental issues in Japan. And we look at those. We also look for third party confirmation on things. Sometimes it’s workers at the plant. Sometimes it’s environmental groups in Japan or locals in Japan that have direct information and direct evidence of things going on. So we try to look at a number of sources. So when we’re not getting enough information out of official channels, we start looking elsewhere to see if we can find something that confirms or denies what we’re hearing
Things like. You’re going to have a very busy couple of days coming up to match the busy days you’ve already had on this potentially.
Yes. You know, if this volcano keeps doing things big enough to cause potential tsunami waves, this could be a really busy week.
Nancy Faust. We appreciate this update. We will stay in touch. Hopefully things will calm down from this point on and for now. Thank you tremendously for being my guest this week on nuclear hot seat.
Great. Thanks for having me.
That was Nancy Faust communications manager and research team [email protected]. We will have a link up to their page on our website, nuclear hot seat.com. Under this episode, number 5 22, we will have a further interview later in the program on the risks posed by this and possibly other two nominees on nuclear facilities, including that of Santa no fray in Southern California. We’ll have that later in the program for now more news here in the U S three separate, but interrelated stories out of New Mexico in the first comes word that the Los Alamos national laboratory, which was used for the development of the atom bomb in world war two is still 14 years away from cleanup. And it might be even more the U S department of energy estimates. It could be 2036 before the cleanup is complete at the lab, which is referred to as Lanel during a recent meeting.
Federal officials acknowledged reviewing whether new risks will increase the need for additional funding for the cleanup project. These risks consisting in major part of the federal government’s plan to increase plutonium core. Plutonium Pitt is another term production at Los Alamos and finding out how that will result in additional waste and disposal, liabilities, New Mexico, environmental officials, and watchdog groups worry that the federal government has significantly understated its environmental liability regarding the lab. The DOE is facing a legal challenge by the state of New Mexico, over setting and meeting the milestones of its current cleanup agreement with the state, which was signed in 2016. State officials found the federal government’s plan for the previous fiscal year to be deficient. Watchdog groups said it wasn’t until the state sued in February of 2021, that the DOE proposed boosting the cleanup budget at the lab by about one third J Coghlan executive director of nuclear watch.
New Mexico said the conclusion I draw from it is the New Mexico environment department gets a lot more from the skip than it does from the carrot with respect to making the laboratory and a DOE truly committed to a comprehensive cleanup. Greg mellow, who is executive director of the Los Alamos study group, had a great op ed in the Santa Fe, new Mexican. He asks, what exactly would Santa Fe stand for or mean if nuclear weapons, the ultimate inhuman disposability became its main tangible product. He cites current plans at Lanel to spend $18 billion to start up production of the plutonium pits. This decade. This is 15 times what the Manhattan project spent in New Mexico to develop the nuclear bomb in the first place. And indeed adores the cost of every other project in New Mexico history. The pits will cost at least $50 million a piece 200 times their weight in gold, a single Lanel Pitt.
Assuming all goes well will cost you as much as the combined annual salaries of 1000 New Mexico teachers or the equipment for 5,000 residential solar systems. Melo goes on to state several other meaningful equivalencies, and we will have a link up to this article on our website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 52 and the third New Mexico article states that Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe has published a pastoral letter living in the light of Christ peace, a conversation towards nuclear disarmament. He called the nuclear arms race, a quote vicious spiral that prompts progressively destabilizing actions and reactions by all parties, including our own country, whatever your religious affiliation or lack thereof. It’s a good letter that he wrote and we will link to it in Missouri, the Callaway nuclear plant automatically scrammed, which is an emergency shutdown after a turbine trip. This is in the wake of the fact that the reactor was shut down for over seven months in 2021 for extensive repairs to the turbine, back to the drawing boards guys off the coast of Florida, the nuclear reactors at St.
Lucy have got some splaining to do after a sub adult female loggerhead turtle, which is a protected species was found dead in the reactors intake, cooling canal. It was caught in the intake, cooling canals, five inch barrier net and an autopsy determined that mortality was due to forced submergence. In other words, the turtle got caught and drown to death. No one can figure out exactly how or why it happened, which means it’s probably time to call him the jellyfish because when it comes to shutting down a nuclear reactor, those guys know how to get it done. Another article we’re going to link to is entitled. Why is the Santa Susanna nuclear accident still being covered up excavating six decades of buried secrecy, neglect and flat out lies in the San Fernando valley. What’s notable about this piece it’s that it is written by Warren only the reporter who first broke the Santa Susana field lab story on KNBC four in 1979.
It’s a good, clear recap of the history of the site and carries the authority of someone who is so frustrated that six decades after breaking a story, it’s still a story over to Japan where even before this week to NAMI hit the plant, the unit three spent fuel pool was showing some damage. The work took place between July and October of 2021 and focused on high radiation equipment, including used control rods and used filter canisters. The inspection found a damage control. Rod lying across a fuel ramp to damage control rods hung in the wall rack and damage to the rack itself. Two dummy fuel assemblies have damaged lifting handles and six lifting on the fuel racks were damaged. Sandy debris and rust were found at the bottom of the pool causing difficulty in examining the use filters stored there. Pictures of all these are found on the website, simply info.org on December 6th, Tokyo electric power company.
Tapco began to drive steel pipes into the ground at Fukushima Daiichi to stop the inflow of underground water into the thought part of the frozen soil barrier. AKA the slushie, this frost wall has been in operation. If you can call it that since 2017 intended to prevent the inflow of groundwater into the reactor building where melted nuclear fuel and debris remains from the accident. This is meant to reduce the generation of contaminated water, which then has to be stored onsite in containers. And as the exact water, the TEPCO is threatening to dump into the Pacific ocean. Needless to say the slushie, excuse me, ice wall has not been working as advertised. And the only time we get updates on it is when they suddenly have to do another round of repairs in the UK. If you thought Rolls-Royces small modular nuclear reactors would be for electricity on earth guess again, because the rolls Royce team has just moved into space park in Leicester to work on nuclear powered space.
Travel rolls. Royce has already signed the contract to move into the new 100 million pound facility and will collaborate with the new space park head professor Richard Ambrosie, professor of space instrumentation and space nuclear power systems at the university of Leicester. They already have a curriculum set up for it and they’re so tricked out a video on rolls Royce’s nuclear aspirations in space is up on YouTube and has already garnered more than 600,000 views. I wonder how many bots or what degree of PR promotion it took to get that many hits on something that’s only been up for a short period of time in Belgium, the operator of the latest dwell four and to Hanes three reactors has informed the Belgian prime minister that they can no longer be connected to the grid. The dwell for reactor has been in operation since July of 1985. And to Hanes three since September of 1985 and are to be shut down on September 1st, 2025.
This date for the shutdown was decided in Belgium in 2003. And an extension of the term of operation would require a lead time of at least five years because of the necessary studies and approval procedures. Both reactors sites are less than 100 miles or 150 kilometers from the German border. And in the summer of 2021, the city of cologne signed a resolution against the extension of the term of the reactors in Scotland. The hunter student B reactor three was taken offline on November 26th for the final time as of 2020 Scotland met 97% of its energy needs through renewables, genuine renewables in India, noted activist. met with the prime minister of tamale Nadoo, which hosts the could them nuclear reactors and urged him to shut them down. She cited the serious impact. Radiation causes on human beings as well as aquatic species and pointed out that even as opposition to the two units of nuclear power plants was continuing. They have started construction on units 3, 4, 5, and six, and are planning to begin the seventh and eighth unit and a reprocessing plant. She said, we have requested the chief minister of Tamil Nadu to take steps, to withdraw the projects, and we want the state to intervene. And now
The French government has announced that it expects plans for new nuclear reactors to be submitted around 2023 with a target date of 2035 to 37 for the reactors to go online this according to secretary of state to the minister for the ecological transition. And she said that the new reactors would be EPR two models, improved versions of ETFs EPR full-stop let’s unpack. What’s really being said here. Secretary ABA said the new reactors would be improved versions of ETFs. EPR will anything would be an improvement because that model has suffered years of delays and billions of euros of cost overruns on units, still under construction in France and Finland. New plan submitted around 2023 and a target date of 2035 for the reactors to go online, give out arrest nuclear is notorious for being over budget over schedule and less. We forget these are untried designs.
They’re talking about small modular reactors, and these are designs that have never been built, let alone operated to test their efficiency efficiency. Did you say you dare dimension that word in connection with nukes Francis currently building one new generation EPR reactor at unit three of the Flamanville nuclear power plant. And it has encountered multiple setbacks. Previously, the government had said it would not launch any new third generation EPR reactor projects until Flamanville three is completed and that’s not even on the horizon. And to let you know how ridiculous and out of touch with reality. This is when this announcement was written, netted showed up in the papers, which was on January 10th, 2022. It touted that 52 out of 56 nuclear reactors in France were currently online. Okay. That means four were shut down, but wait, just one week later on January 17th, 46 of Francis 56 nuclear reactors were offline. And as time goes by, who knows how many more of these EPR dinosaurs are going to be incapable of operating and the French government expect new nuclear to be up and running by 2035 to 2037, give it a rest guys, Sacra blue. And that’s why French secretary of state to the minister for the ecological transition, you are this week’s
We’ll have this week second featured interview in just a moment, but first, just two weeks into the new year. And we’ve already got our new set of nuclear nightmares was certainly more in the queue. It seems that those in charge of nuclear matters have a bad case of denial going on. As they ignore the radioactive problems, they’ve already created do nothing to clean up the mess or protect against future risks and keep creating more radioactive waste. They do not know what to do with meaning safely store for the necessary quarter of a million years, and they don’t know how to neutralize it. And then there’s mother nature, as we just saw in Tonga those in power, keep getting away with it because they trust that nobody’s paying attention except some of us are. And that includes you because you are listening to nuclear hot seat.
We’re here every week, providing verifiable nuclear information. That’s been sourced, checked and footnoted plus interviews with people who are genuine experts on the nuclear industry’s impact on life health and our shared genetic future. We also talk with people from the front lines of activism around the world, so you can see how others are fighting back without your support. Nuclear hot seat will not be able to continue. So if you’re grateful for the information you get from the show, help us out by sending a donation to help us meet our expenses, just go to nuclear, hot seat.com and click on the big red donate button. That’s where you can send a one-time donation of any size or set up an automatic recurring donation as little as $5 a month. The same as you would spend here in the U S on cup of coffee, and a decent tip will go a long way towards making certain this program continues.
So please do what you can know to help nuclear hot seat stay up and running. So we can continue to share information that the nuclear industry would really rather, we not know whatever you can do to help go to nuclear hot seat.com. And thank you now, here’s this week’s second featured interview. That tsunami that resulted from the Tonga underwater, volcanic eruption on January 15, went out into the Pacific ocean in all directions, hitting not only Fukushima, but up and down the west coast of north America. That specifically raised questions of safety at the Santa Ana fray, nuclear reactor in Southern California, which sits on the boundary between San Diego and orange counties, just south of Los Angeles. While the reactor is permanently shut down. And in the process of being dismantled, there are still 3.6 million pounds of high level plutonium contaminated radioactive waste from so-called spent fuel rods being stored onsite in what is truly a travesty of safety considerations here to fill us in on the problems that San Onofre faced and will continue to face from two nominees are Charles Langley, executive director, and nine Bobby hours, board member of the Santa. No, for a nonprofit advocacy group, public watchdogs. We spoke today, Tuesday, January 18th, 2022, Charles Langley and Nina Bobby hours. Thank you so much for joining me this morning on nuclear hot seat.
Glad to be here.
When the tsunami happened after the volcanic eruption near Tonga, public watchdogs responded very quickly to the fact of it and the resulting to NAMI. What were the alarm bells that went off for you here in Southern California that led you to generate this press release and this awareness alert so quickly?
Well, they’d be here in Southern California. We have 3.6 million pounds of absolutely deadly high level nuclear waste basically entered on the beach and stainless steel canisters. You’re talking
About Santa and elf right
Here. That Santa no FRA. Yes. And they’re interred in these silos inside an earthen berm that’s relatively low. And one of our concerns is what happens if these silos flood and stop the convection cooling of this waste? Because what a lot of people don’t understand is that when the nuclear waste comes out, it’s not just radioactively hot, but these cans are physically hot and you could easily fry a steak on the side of one, just from the heat. So they call themselves with a flow. And if that air flow is interrupted, so by flooding, it could cause them to overheat and it could potentially cause a criticality event. The classic example of criticality is a nuclear bomb going off that, what that means is that the material, the plutonium and uranium has achieved critical mass in a power plant, in a nuclear power plant. This is a controlled reaction, but when they’re done using the nuclear fuel, they call it spent fuel. There’s nothing spent about it. This stuff is sizzling hot and it remains radioactive for at least a quarter million years.
I think a good example that everybody can remember. Hopefully anyway, levy is Fukushima. You know, when you saw the visuals as Fukushima, it was not just the water coming in. It was what was being dragged out. It was not clear seawater. It was not, it was mud that was being pulled out. If you look at the topography at San Onofre, you’ve got the foothills back there, the water’s going to come in and it’s going to go back out. And when it goes back out, exactly what Charles is describing is what we’re concerned will happen. Not just water, but not because it could potentially shut those cooling systems down or compromise their cooling capability publicly
Watchdogs has previously had dealings with the nuclear regulatory commission about this flooding issue. Bring us up to speed on that.
We filed a complaint a couple of years ago, there was actually a, a legal petition to revoke Southern California. Edison’s privileged to bury nuclear waste on the beach at Santa now for it. And this type of petition is called a 2.26 petition because it’s part of code of federal regulations, 2.2, us six, where the NRC, the nuclear regulatory commission. And what we said is, look, you haven’t analyzed what happens when this facility is covered in water and what the consequences will be, whether it’s a partial flooding or a complete flooding from a tsunami or any other type of flooding event. And we’re concerned that these containers might go critical if they’re underwater for too long. And what we see on earth over the these last couple of years is the fact that the nuclear regulatory commission has not analyzed the probability or possibility of this at all. They’ve done some flood analysis, but it only represents perhaps half a page or a page in their final safety report that the manufacturer of these nuclear waste canisters Holtec submitted to the nuclear commission. Not only that, but they’ve censored that analysis away from the public claiming that it would violate Holtec corporations, intellectual property rights to show how they intend to deal with a flood situation.
I just want to get also pointed out for your audience that may not be aware that they can see this visual on our website at public watchdogs is these cans are only 108 feet from the Pacific ocean practically of sea level. We’re talking about feet, separating them from the Pacific ocean. And so what Charles is describing is something that the nuclear regulatory commission responded by saying these allegations or this of offices is non-credible. And they use that term that it was non-credible, but then they could not define what that means. And so the NRC actually responded with a non-credible response indicating that this allegation is not incredible. And of course it’s common sense.
It’s one of those terms that gets used so often, like not significant, which is really code to tell people pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. It’s there. They’re Missy, don’t worry your pretty little head about it, as opposed to this is a genuine and legitimate concern that must be addressed for the safety of people and the planet. And as somebody who lives in Southern California, I’m not close, but I’m close enough to sound an afraid that any impact that would come from it’s compromised of these spent fuel canisters, only five eights of an inch thick I might add would impact me, would impact all of Southern California, our food, our economics, everything. So we’re talking about the potential for a major catastrophe here that NRC is looking away from,
Hey, the bottom line is our press release, went out due to concerns, deep concerns for the public safety. But the issue here is paramount is the public’s safety. And so from our perspective, Southern California Edison, and even their parent company, Sempra that continues to enable this perspective, as well as the nuclear regulatory commission is somewhat in denial of the evitable tsunami hitting the Southern California coastline. And in that regard, they’re playing Russian roulette with the public safety by just being in denial of what has happened in that area. For thousands of years, you can look at a website, there’s a report called earthquake bay.
Yeah. The coast of Southern California, the original Spaniards, when they mapped it, they called it earthquake bay. Why? Because it’s known for its earthquakes is an earthquake hotspot. And one of the hottest spots on the entire west coast, all the way to Alaska. So putting a nuclear power plant in this area was dangerous and storing the waste. There is equally dangerous in our opinion.
Well, you know, in addition to the tsunami, something close very closely associated is the accelerated sea level rise above anybody’s expectations levy. And the denial of that is demonstrated by the proximity that they have buried this waste to the Pacific ocean. It needs to be moved to higher ground and there’s limited capabilities of which to do that. And it needs to be in safer casks, 18 inch thick wall casts that survived Fukushima is what we’ve been asking for from day one. And I would like the opportunity just to point out that everything that we’re talking about is occurred because Edison did not tell the truth with regard to the replacement of the steam generators. They were not a like for like replacement. It was a brand new untested technology that gave us a radiation leak that shut the plant down. And I’m going to continue to reiterate that because a lot of people don’t know that Santa no free was originally shut down because of a failed design at a radiation leak. And so when Edison continues to tell that they’re doing things safely, the history and the facts actually demonstrate just the opposite. And this is just another example of that.
Let’s take this back to the tsunami that resulted from the, I want to say atomic explosion. Cause that’s what it looked like. The underwater eruption of the tongue, a volcano. What was the actual result? If any, that was noted here in Southern California,
There was a weather man last night that pointed out a fact that I think says it all. He demonstrated with a map of how far away from San Diego that initiating incident of the volcano eruption occurred almost 6,000 miles away. His point being that even that far away, this thing had the power to travel and still hit not only Southern California, but you know, Northern California and Santa Cruz area was, you know, the Harbor was hit, the beaches were hit, the water came in. And so this isn’t some illusion we’re talking about here. I mean, I think we were rather lucky that it wasn’t higher than, than an occurred the other day.
Yeah. Our concern is what happens if a tsunami, a few hundred miles or only a thousand miles off the coast comes in and overwhelms shoreline with a 30 or 40 foot wave that could happen. And there’s evidence that tsunamis have hit San Diego county that had been 150 feet high. So you imagine 150 foot wave and it isn’t just water either. It’s modern rock and coral and all sorts of stuff. That’s flowing like almost like a lava.
And just to take your listeners back a few years, something I’d like to point out is that during Fukushima, I mean, which really in a way, was a blessing for Southern California. It gave a reality check that nobody could deny. During that time. We, the Southern California Edison was actually proposing to the nuclear regulatory commission, the restart those generators they’ve given us a radiation week. The only way that that didn’t happen was because we had Fukushima and it was a reality check it’s may done 10 years plus, but the facts continue to demonstrate that this is a risk to the public
Plus when they wanted to restart, they didn’t offer to fix the problem because what they said as well, the system’s faulty. If we run it at a hundred percent capacity, but we’re pretty sure it won’t leak radiation. If we run it at 70%, which is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard,
Again, roulette with the public safety. So
With this recent Toonami what position or what response has the nuclear regulatory had to it and the danger that it posed here on the west coast of the United States, if any,
Well, we’ve taken it as far as we can go at the nuclear regulatory commission through the appeals process. And the only resort that’s left would be to Sue in federal court, which will basically say, we’re not the regulatory body for that. You’ve got to take it up with the NRC. So we’re concerned that we just don’t want to be in a situation where we’re saying, we told you, so when a tsunami eventually hits one of these below ground storage facilities and causes a problem, they didn’t expect a tsunami at Fukushima. I was talking to someone in the industry who used to run nuclear reactors a few days ago. And he said in 2001, he was meeting with an executive at TEPCO and any, he brought up the concerns about a tsunami off the coast of Japan. And the executive said, oh, that’ll never happen yet. Here we go. 10 years later, Fukushima occurred because the tsunami that was larger than anything, anyone thought possible hit the coast. And that’s why we got Fukushima.
Everything we’re talking about is irresponsible. It’s irresponsible for Edison to be in denial about the facts of mother it’s, they’re responsible for the nuclear regulatory commission to be claiming that this third option is non-credible when mother natured sells is just the opposite. We’re asking these people to do the right thing with regard to the public safety. You think that these, some ethics involved in that, but they have absolutely no shame Libby and issuing a response like non-credible. And then when we asked, since we couldn’t find the word non-credible or the term anywhere on the NRC glossary website, or anywhere, could you please define that they couldn’t even define the term that they were dismissing this assertion with that’s irresponsible to me.
So where does public watchdogs go from here? Or is there a further place for you to go?
Well, you know, we took our, one of our federal cases to the us Supreme court last year. And although they decided not to hear the case, the problem still exists. One avenue that we’re exploring of course now is the court of public opinion because when it comes down to the public safety, that’s really the only court that matters is that, you know, the increased public awareness of what the facts and the situation is, it’s an old Onofre. And the concern for the public safety is of paramount to public watchdogs. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Also be looking very closely at their budgeting and deconstruction activity that the California public utility commission, which sets the rates and the amount of money that Edison has a large to charge the public against the decommissioning trust.
So I’ve been serving on Congressman Michael Evans, Santa, no free task force with a number of people here in the community, both from orange county and San Diego county, quite a diverse group. And that he has proposed legislation with regard to prioritizing some of these sites. And of course has pointed out to the folks in DC, his, his congressional peers, that we’ve got a situation here at Santa, no free. That is very unique. We’ve got all the reasons why this way should have never been buried. I mean, it’s the most ridiculous bot in the world on an earthquake, falling into the tsunami inundation zone in the middle of millions of people. And so there’s legislation that’s been introduced to prioritize the most risky of all decommission sites and San Onofre is like number one, in that criteria,
We will stay in touch with the two of you and public watchdogs, certainly about anything happening in Southern California. But also as we learned that there has been at least one additional eruption from the Tonga volcano since the big one on the 15th, we don’t know yet whether it’s tsunami as result of, we don’t know if this is the end of the eruption. So we don’t know if the danger has passed, but as that continues, we will stay in touch with you to learn about the impact on Southern California and the San and offer a site until we speak again. Thanks so much for being my guest this morning on nuclear hot seat. Thank you lady. Thank you lady. That was Charles Langley, executive director, and nine Bobby RS board member of the Santa. No free nonprofit advocacy group, public watchdogs. We’ll have a link up to their website, public watchdogs, that’s plural.org on our website, nuclear hot seat.com. Under this episode, number 5 52
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