THE ONE WITH NUCLEAR WASTE
We are currently burying 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste in the sand at the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS). That's happening, right now. Here at the campaign we've come to call this 'the Ostrich Strategy' and unsurprisingly, it is not viable. If we ever have a Fukushima event here at home, we would all have to find new homes. Every single member of the 48th District of CA lives within the 50 mile evacuation radius. That's over 8 million people displaced. Meanwhile, earthquakes in California are a 'when' not an 'if' and the site sits sandwiched between two fault lines. The nuclear material is being buried in concrete and steel - just above the water table on the beach. Salt water is extremely corrosive to both of those. As ocean levels rise, storm systems increase in severity and the threat of a conventional explosion creating a dirty bomb from terrorists, North Korea or Russia intensify, we simply cannot allow this to continue any longer.
The solution is simple, but not easy. Once cooled, place the spent fuel on a train and take it to either Yucca Mountain or one of two sites near the New Mexico and west Texas border for temporary storage; whoever is ready and willing first. The Federal Government dropped the ball here in a big way. The 1989 plans for the Department of Energy to take possession/own all nuclear waste and create a Federal home for it never came to fruition. We would seek to immediately work with current pending legislation as well as Department of Energy Secretary, Rick Perry to finalize Federal adoption of the waste on a nation wide, permanent basis. SONGS should arguably be one of the nation's first sites resolved as the Port of Long Beach and Camp Pendleton create massive National Security implications.
The TLDR Version:
Make no mistake, while this would immeasurably affect over 8 million of us locally, a potential leak at San Onofre would be absolutely devastating for our National Security with Camp Pendleton sitting next door. Camp Pendleton is one of our largest West Coast military bases; it operates year- round training for our brave Marines and other military divisions and is one of a few sites nationally operating STARS (air traffic control). In addition to the base, we would stand to lose shipping routes, Latin American seafood/produce sources and animal migratory patterns. It gets worse at every turn: the sarcophagus they are using only utilizes 5/8 inch steel and a thin concrete wall. As opposed to other regions which use thicker steel and often concrete walls multiple feet thick.
This is about the equivalent of 51 Chernoblys being buried in the sand at a local surf spot in flimsy coffins.
The steel and concrete tombs would not be eligible for inspection, nor repairs, even if leaks were discovered. When an earthquake hits, or in the event of terrorists, North Korea or Russia simply detonating a conventional explosive device at the site - we, the residents of the 48th - would be living in a nuclear fallout zone: the infamous 50 mile radius.
While there are many self-interested parties involved, the largest public safety issue moving forward is our preeminent concern. In that effort, the blame game on what's been done is less productive than creating a solution.
As a Representative for the 48th we would fight to move legislation forward, day one, to finalize a transfer of the material. Either to a willing and ready temporary holding site like NM or West TX or a permanent National nuclear waste repository like Yucca. We must get this spent fuel dry casked, on a train and out of Southern California - away from 8 million people, a major throughway and National Defense bases. Waiting 5 years for this and 10 years for that is no longer an option.
Let's run the Government like a business and work with the waste haulers and temporary storage businesses to get this waste out of Southern California, now.