January 28th, 2004

Dear Readers,

Just a note to let local (San Diego, CA) readers know that this writer was interviewed this evening by a reporter (Shasha Foo) from KUSI-TV regarding a leak at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (aka "SONGS"), and was told the report will air on the 10:00 pm news tonight.

San Onofre Unit III was shut down last Saturday (January 25th, 2004) due to a leak in a weld between two pipes.  The utility company that runs the plant believes it did not have to report the problem at all, but did so voluntarily (apparently today).  The leak was inside the containment dome.  Rad-suited workers had to go into the containment dome to assess the problem and carry out repairs and clean-up.

Several hundred gallons of radioactive water (presumably primary coolant) leaked out of the system onto the floor (and vaporized into the air), at the rate of about six gallons an hour.  Plant operators claim there is no danger to the public.  They always say that, but it's never true.

Plant spokesliar Ray Golden told reporters that Southern California Edison hopes to have the plant back online this weekend.

The other operational plant at the site (Unit II) is scheduled to be shut down for maintenance next month, and they hope to avoid having both shut down at once.  The third plant at the site, Unit I, was shut down in the 1990s and has been largely dismantled to make room for the very dangerous Dry Storage Casks.  Unit I could not be cost-effectively upgraded to required safety standards (Unit I never operated safely at all.  The standards were upgraded (a rarity for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission)).  The Reactor Pressure Vessel from Unit I remains at the site, but SCE hopes to ship it around Cape Horn, at least 200 miles from the coast of any country to avoid legal disputes with Argentina and other countries in the area.  If they lose the RPV in the dangerous waters there, they will probably never recover it.  They are content to let it sit on-site indefinitely if they cannot ship it around the Cape.

Dry Cask Storage is particularly vulnerable to airplane strikes and other terrorist threats and should not be permitted anywhere.  It was approved by the local commissions only because they were NOT ALLOWED TO CONSIDER SAFETY ISSUES when deciding whether to permit them -- but what other issues are there, really???


Russell Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA


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