San Diego County Green Party Press Release/Apr. 28, 2011
The NRC held a public hearing today in San Juan Capistrano to explain to the public the efforts they’ve been undertaking to increase safety at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). This hearing was prompted by a history of multiple safety violations noted by the NRC on previous inspections and by the recent catastrophe in Japan at the Fukushima plant, a plant that is very similar in design to SONGS.
The meeting began with a recent report that the NRC has filed on current efforts to improve safety and then a response to the NRC report by the operators of SONGS which is run by Southern California Edison. The NRC report stated that although there were still improvements that need to be made they felt the plant was being operated safely. The SONGS operators then responded to the NRC with comments on how they planned to continue to make improvements and then made a public address to explain who they felt the plant is safe and could withstand an event similar to the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Fukushima plant.
The report and response was then followed by a Q&A session along with a period of time set aside for public comment. During the public comment section many members of the community spoke about their fears that the plant continues to be unsafe and how they were not certain they could trust the NRC or the current operators. The Mayor of San Juan Capistrano, Lori Donchak, told the crowd that she felt the plant was being operated safely but was still concerned about the possibility of a catastrophic event which would lead to a need to evacuate but the current evacuation routes are not capable of handling such an evacuation.
The Mayor’s concern about public safety was repeated throughout the evening by both citizens requesting the plant be closed as well as by the SONGS operators. In fact, the SONGS representatives continued to state that their number one priority was public and plant worker safety.
The Green Party of San Diego County challenges this statement. The number one priority of SONGS is to make a profit for Southern California Edison and if no profit were being made the plant would be closed. In fact, no private insurance company will give a policy to a nuclear power station because the dangers of running a nuclear power station outweigh any amount of payment that could be paid for a policy.
Considering the huge risk of running SONGS and the very limited benefit (SONGS only produces about 12% of the power needed for the San Diego area) the San Diego County Green Party joins the many citizens who were at the hearing calling for an immediate closure of SONGS. Since public money is being used to make the operation of SONGS possible and the public paying our electric bills pays for the profit SONGS makes for Southern California Edison it is time that those public funds be redirected to sources of power generation that are truly safe and sustainable.