Irvine City Councilman calls for San Onofre to be decommissioned ASAP

by on March 29, 2012 · 11 comments

in California, Energy, Environment, Health, Popular, San Diego

Irvine City councilman Larry Agran. (OC Register)

Tuesday night- March 27th – supporters of decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station packed into the 250+ seat City of Irvine Council Chambers in Orange County.  At least 50 people wore green clothing to mark their support for San Clemente Green, an environmental action group working since the Fukushima meltdown last March towards a San Onofre shut down.

After general city announcements and a few agenda items, item 6.1 came up for the Irvine council. Councilman Larry Agran introduced the topic, stating that is was his motion to add San Onofre to the evening’s agenda; he’d invited San Clemente Green to present public comments as they had previously at city council meetings in San Clemente, Laguna Beach and San Diego’s own Solana Beach.

In his opening remarks Agran admitted that after a year of research (following the March 11th Fukushima disaster) he was not an expert on nuclear energy.

“In fact” he continued, ” I haven’t met anyone who would claim expert knowledge and infallible judgment in all the complex matters of nuclear safety. But I do know enough to have reached this conclusion: I believe that our shared community commitment to public safety requires that we bring about the safe, orderly decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station as soon as possible–and certainly before 2022, when the current San Onofre nuclear reactor licenses expire.”

Agran went on to call out Southern California Edison corporate leadership to put public safety first and not squander the time at hand seeking re-licensing (which they’ve already begun–to keep reactors running until 2042!).

Agran commented that while many might say the chance for a nuclear disaster is “1 in a million” he sees it as being more like “1 in 100.”

Agran followed-up his comments with 8 questions for the Irvine City Council to address, requesting that they submit responses in discussion and writing at their April 24th meeting.  Among these crucial questions Agran included questions of the scope of equipment, planning and chain of command in the event of a full evacuation of their city–a question every city within 50 (or 100!?) miles of San Onofre should seriously consider.

Also, Agran pressed the council and city managers to report back on equipment to measure radioactive contamination, safety gear for public workers and the general public–and, what about iodine pills for widespread distribution to protect against thyroid cancer? Finally, in his final question, Agran asks what the steps would be for the city of Irvine to seek state and federal “participation” in the event that Southern California Edison pursues license renewal–eloquently spoken fighting words that must have been music to the ears of every anti-nuke activist in the building.

The remarks and questions were so good, I decided to scan the copy the city clerk gave me and share them here for your reading enjoyment. It’s not everyday you get to witness a public official doing what they damn well ought to do–I was impressed and somewhat reassured.

Following Agran’s comments, the council patiently heard the public comments of 20 speakers, ranging from generally peeved residents to first-hand participants in the cement and steel tragedy that is San Onofre.  Dr. Nelson Mar was a key player in the engineering, analysis and design of the containment vessels in reactors 2 & 3 at San Onofre. In the 6 minutes he was allowed to speak to the council he stated his discomfort at seeing the tragedy unfold in Fukushima and then clearly explained that the containment vessels he helped design in 1973 would no longer be adequate.

Coupled with the LA Times story that San Onofre is prohibited from restarting and the increasing public awareness that San Onfre should remain shut down because it is stupidly dangerous, expensive to maintain and not worth the risk–it was a good week for the movement to end nuclear energy in California.  It was an excellent intersection between direct action and decision making by elected officials, albeit slow an bureaucratic in terms of stopping force.

So here is my question for you, dear readers & OB Rag comment thread crew: what would it take for the San Diego City Council to issue a similar set of remarks and questions to Southern California Edison? Why haven’t we pushed for this yet?

Read Agran’s Remarks & Questions Here

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

malcolm migacz March 29, 2012 at 9:33 am

The San Diego City Council , another corporate controlled puppet show, will never issue any similar set of remarks. This is the Republicans best controlled city in the world.

Wake up from your dream , and brush your tears aside, it’s time to rise
Occupy !


John Law March 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm

San Onofre was here first. They ought to request Irvine get unincorporated.


john March 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Should RJ Reynolds et. al. be able to tell government regulators to go stuff it since
tobacco was one of the first industries in the colonies?
Let’s stick to actual logic, that what was good enough or thought to be safe in 1973 we now know is not, as learned by tragedies experienced by others we were fortunate enough to observe at a distance. We should be wise and learn from them and not have to have the lesson beaten into our own heads.
There was once a promise of nuclear energy being a cheap, safe solution. We’ve given that time. Cheap it may have been if only that corporations could reap huge profits if they gambled compromising safety by pushing the life spans of outdated plants, putting off the problem of spent fuels hoping they’d be solved by future generations, etc.
I see nuclear power as a ticking time bomb whose decaying infrastructure just makes it tick faster. When it goes off, and it now has more than once, (Chernobyl most notably) its long term effects are just ghastly. It’s time to call off the experiment and say “well that was fun but just not worth it”.


Frank Gormlie March 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I’m thinking John Law was joking – or at least I hope he was.


Steve z. March 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I don’t think these guys were joking.
December 19, 2011 – WASHINGTON – An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services. This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima. Authors Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman note that their estimate of 14,000 excess U.S. deaths in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdowns is comparable to the 16,500 excess deaths in the 17 weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The rise in reported deaths after Fukushima was largest among U.S. infants under age one. The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks. The IJHS article will be published Tuesday and will be available online as of 11 a.m. EST at Just six days after the disastrous meltdowns struck four reactors at Fukushima on March 11, scientists detected the plume of toxic fallout had arrived over American shores. Subsequent measurements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found levels of radiation in air, water, and milk hundreds of times above normal across the U.S.


Goatskull March 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I think Frank meant the John Law was being facetious in his post.


Joey Silverman March 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm

The Fukushima incident happened because they failed to listen to the new safety guidance. Japan does not have regulations that are REQUIRED to be followed. Here in the US, obviously we do. Can anyone here explain how the San Onefre plant does not comply with safety requirements?

Just FYI no one died of radion sickness in Fukushima, those who died (1) worker was too close to a compressor that blew. and (2) because he was outside in the wrong place at the wrong time when a wave hit. Yet hundreds of women voluntarily decided to abort their babies for fear of some kind of mutaion or deformity that might have happend, their kids would have been fine.
No one talks about the Nuclear plant that was closer to the epicenter in Japan that survived without any problems, because they actually listened to the safety advice and ugraded there facilty. Fukushima ignored the suggestions.
Please educate your self on all subjects, don’t even take my word for it. Do some research. The media’s job is not to report the news but to get RATINGS. Nothing sells like death and sex.

J. Silverman


Steve z. March 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Larry Agran has always been in front of these critical issues. Makes my happy to be a long time Irvine resident. Of course he is right. He is likely to be a key player in helping to make a shut down happen. Sorry to say, you are not likely to find others like him in other OC cities, that are even closer to the reactors.


C. Burkey March 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Great article. Really important topic. Hope this is the beginning of good sense.


Frank Gormlie March 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Doug, excellent reporting, dude.


Gary Headrick April 1, 2012 at 6:34 am

Please help keep it shut down by signing our letter to the NRC


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