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The Quake to Make Los Angeles a Radioactive Dead Zone

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/11/quake-make-los-angeles-radioactive-dead-zone

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This article is spot on, residents have been trying to close this site for as long as I can remember, at least 30 years or more. We did pass a law that prevents the building of reactors in the state. California provides about a quarter of the nations fool supply, and with prevailing winds that would all cease.

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Tick-tock…tick-tock…tick-tock…

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“Fool supply”…Freudian slip ?

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There is also a Nuclear Reactor right on the beach in Oceanside, between Los Angeles and San Diego.

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These nuclear plants need to be shut down. The energy they produce can be easily replaced by renewable energy at lower costs particularly when the external costs are considered.

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I meant food but yes that too. We don’t build reactors though so…

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Greed makes all other sins possible

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Yup. I used to pass the San Onofrie (sp) reactor every weekend in the early 60’s when I was in high school to go surfing just north of there. And it IS right on the beach just above the water line. Scary stuff.

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There are three at San Onofre, actually.

The latter two went in a few years after you were in high school, then. They are all quite ancient now.

That is the other reactor the author referred to but not by name (it is called San Onofre). It is shut down now but there is spent fuel stored on site. Skimming https://www.kpbs.org/news/2019/jun/19/nuclear-waste-beach-science-and-safety-explained/ they use the term “resuming storing the fuel” which surprised me - I assume the fuel was just spent there, not that other spent fuel is shipped there but I’m not tracking this very closely.

@Trog has proposed that before we move a bunch of spent fuel to a common repository, it might make more sense to see if Gen IV reactors are going to be practical as they can burn down around 95% of the radioactivity of the spent fuel, but even he thought that it made sense to move it from plants located in earthquake zones as a new plant is probably not going to be sited there and there is a risk from storing fuel there.

Thanks yet again for the warning, Harvey. Lets hope this time it gets some intelligent action before we see a MAGA (Make America Glow Again) event.

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I remember touring a nuclear underground research facility in Manitoba c 1994.

The tour leader was NOT an engineer, but rattled off a bunch on engineerese about how safe everything was.

I asked:

“Do you know what your Achilles Heel is?”

“No”

I replied: “Funding - who will look after all this high level waste if the paychecks stop coming? And who can predict this funding will continue into the distant future, when countries and economies fail regularly?”

No answer ~

Here is Dilbert in today’s Globe and Mail:

How can surgery turn an employee into a boss?

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If that was Whiteshell, it has already been closed and is undergoing decommissioning.

NO nuclear reactor will ever be practical, until we find a sure fire way to dispose of the waste. Fuel is NOT stored. But waste IS.

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At the risk of sounding like the nuclear crusaders that keep popping up on every renewable energy discussions thread, a Thorium reactor would be a very practical form of nuclear energy.
Its “waste” is actually energy and the only byproduct would be water. Even better, it can not be weaponized.
That said, given the climate chaos about to occur no large ground based installations of any kind should be producing or storing massive amounts of anything volatile, energy included.

I’m not sure about Thorium Reactors (that @Tarsus brought up). They definitely don’t seem as far along down the engineering pipe that MSRs that are capable of using already spent fuel are (which are planned in several sites outside the US even now). @Trog has written about the benefits of the MSR design and very briefly they are:

  1. passively safe (as is the Thorium reactor I believe) - a complete loss of power to the site is not a safety issue.

  2. lower radioactivity of the spent fuel so disposal is an easier problem

  3. it can use the spent fuel of solid fuel reactors, get a bunch of electricity, and end up with something better to dispose of. The balance sheet on this is so over the top that no new fuel is needed for I think hundreds of years. By that time maybe we have such low cost solar, wind, and storage or maybe we get fusion working, or who knows, but it seems we can close down a bunch of existing uranium mines.

It is because of 3 that I say fuel is stored at San Onofre (it is spent fuel as far as San Onofre is concered and this reactor will never be restarted anyway, but it is new fuel as far as an MSR is concerned).

I don’t think any calmly rational progressive scientifally literate person including politicians I like such as Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders should be close minded to all new Gen IV reactors, though I’m fine with being close minded to Gen III (i.e. plan to shut down Gen III plants as soon as we can) though I know many are opposed to this phase out as it is energy production we have to make up. Of course I want full bore efforts on conservation, efficiency, and alternative energy deployment to go forward but I see a role for Gen IV also.

It’s ONLY a matter of time.

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Tried to find out what Her Majesty Pelosi had to say about it. This is the best I could do: (2007)

From the Raw Story:

Citing “a growing chorus of voices,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called Thursday for "mandatory action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution"and said she wants legislation ready for July 4th – which she declares “Energy Independence Day.”

The Speaker’s remarks came at the beginning of a hearing of the House Committee on Science and Technology this morning.

The Speaker also answered an inquiry from Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) on nuclear energy by saying that while she was once opposed to nuclear energy, changing technology had made her “bring a more open mind” to the option.