Question Title

* 1. Background

When the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was approved many decades ago, promises were made that the highly radioactive nuclear waste would be removed when the plant closed. The plant began operation in 1968 and was closed in 2012 due to unexpected radiation leaks. The waste generated since 1968 was supposed to go into deep underground permanent storage at Yucca Mountain, NV, but this plan was abandoned. The Nuclear Waste Act of 1982 specified that residents of any state assigned to store nuclear waste could veto storage in their state. Accordingly, the residents of Nevada voted against the repository. They considered it too dangerous even though it would have been 2200 feet underground in a remote and seismically stable area. In addition, scientists concluded that there is no known technology to prevent underground water penetration for 10,000 years. Any water penetration could release deadly radiation. The nation’s only deep underground repository in Carlsbad, NM, failed in Feb. of 2014 after fires, explosions, and radiation leaks. It is now closed. Currently there are no plans to build another repository, an expensive undertaking that would take decades. Many experts doubt that there ever will be a permanent repository. In the mean time, the nuclear industry continues to generate thousands of metric tons of nuclear waste each year.

With no place to store this highly-radioactive waste, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was put under court order not to license any new nuclear power plants or to relicense old ones until it came up with a new plan for storing nuclear waste. On Aug. 26, 2014, the NRC announced its new plan. The Commission voted to store nuclear waste on site where it was generated for the indefinite future. Instead of the old promise to remove the waste, the new plan is to keep it in where it is indefinitely. This means that San Onofre will now become a Nuclear Waste Dump for the foreseeable future. San Onofre now has about 2000 tons of uranium and plutonium stored either in fuel pools or enclosed in temporary stainless steel casks licensed for 20 years. This waste will be stored above ground about 300 ft. from Old Pacific Highway in the middle of two major metropolitan areas. It is highly vulnerable to terrorist attacks and rests on earthquake faults in a tsunami zone. Southern California Edison will soon begin a $400 million project to move the waste from fuel pools into storage casks where it will remain indefinitely.

2. The Poll

The new Nuclear Waste Dump needs a name. We invite you to cast your ballot on how the new Nuclear Waste Dump should be named. Please indicate your choice: