Failure to harden electrical structures and spent nuclear fuel storage leaves U.S., global population vulnerable to solar or terrorist induced apocalypse. NASA’s recent revelation that Earth missed being clobbered by an electric grid-crashing coronal mass ejection, or CME, in 2012 by less than a week reveals an infrastructural catastrophe few think about. EnviroReporter.com exposes how such an event, with 12 percent odds of happening in the next ten years, would cause hundreds of meltdowns and even more spent nuclear fuel fires that would eventually kill all mammals on the planet, including humans. Yet for the price of a pizza per American, the grid could be bulletproofed in the U.S. yet the threat to the world’s nuclear infrastructure would remain with no political will to do anything about it even with new threats like ISIS looming.
According to a June 27 report from Friends of the Earth (FOE) on SONGS’ “lethal legacy,” the last 44 years of energy production at San Onofre have left nearly 1,100 tons of extremely radioactive spent fuel rods overcrowded in pools designed only to hold them for 5 to 7 years. Other estimates of the total amount of hot rods at the site range from 1,400 to 1,800 tons according to several credible sources.
Should a pool be cracked by an earthquake or lose power to circulate the hot pools, the water would drain or evaporate away and the heat of the extremely radioactive rods could ignite a blaze. Not just any blaze. A spent fuel pond fire would be nearly impossible to extinguish and, according to a 2007 Nuclear Regulatory Commission disaster scenario involving SONGS’ pools on fire, everyone within ten miles of San Onofre would get a fatal dose of radiation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s draft EPA “Protective Action Guide” (PAG), posted on its website April 15, allows hundreds to thousands of times more radiation in disasters than the agency had previously allowed. Americans have until Monday, July 15 to even though the EPA made the new PAG effective immediately. According to EPA’s own data, the new PAGs will result in exponentially higher radiation-induced fatal cancers than the current goal of one in ten thousand to one in a million Americans. In various exposure scenarios listed in the report, depending on which radionuclide, the resultant cancer rates would claim several out of ten, one in eight, one in six – even as low as one in 1.7.
The federal EPA and the state’s DTSC abandon the agreement to cleanup SSFL to background levels of contamination. Longtime activists are outraged at repeated public betrayals as the government blows $41.5 million in stimulus money in the process. Boeing’s lobbying power, and its success in turning DTSC into a ‘captured agency’ virtually assures that contamination will continue to gush into the L.A. River, the object of a $2 billion renovation around which L.A.’s master plan is based. December 12 EPA meeting hears calls for investigation of the agency’s misappropriation of millions that were supposed to be the guide for the DTSC cleanup to background. Boeing’s PR flack, and author of its meltdown makeover, Gary Polakovic, shows up at the meeting unchastened and is warmly greeted by astroturf activist John Luker.
Boeing greenwashes the polluted Rocketdyne site above the San Fernando Valley by pushing for and offering to fund an “astroturf” Community Advisory Group (CAG) and, with the help of the Department of Toxic Substances Control, eliminates the long-established SSFL Interagency Work Group. E-mails and interviews detail how Boeing and DTSC put all their support in the CAG petitioner, Christina Walsh, who has threatened, harassed and libeled community members, elected officials and the media. With other astroturf targets like open-space advocate John Luker, friend to Boeing meltdown makeover PR flack Gary Polakovic, the greenwashing of Rocketdyne is nearly complete.
Rocketdyne’s litany of environmental accidents, spills, meltdowns and disasters has been no impediment to lab owner Boeing’s campaign of self-congratulations over its “open space vision.” EnviroReporter.com obtains exclusive footage of sloppy Boeing demolition work sending clouds of dusty goo into the San Fernando Valley. Intense radiological and chemical contamination carry very real consequences as studies on workers show and tragic stories of sick former employees and community members attest.
KB Home goes for a five year extension on a construction permit to build 461 residences in Runkle Canyon. Problem is that new contamination has been found on the site and evidence that the developer has blocked government requests for Clean Water Act data.
Shocking new radiation readings from the old Rocketdyne Santa Susana Field Laboratory show cesium-137 at nearly 9,300 times normal background levels along with a witches’ brew of deadly radionuclides on “The Hill.” Worse yet, the U.S. EPA has bait and switched the radiation background numbers threatening an agreement to clean the radioactive site back to its normal condition. Sly maneuver fools legislator and nuclear watchdogs.
A celebration of forty years of nuclear watchdog activism by Dan Hirsch’s Committee to Bridge the Gap brings out a Who’s Who of environmentalists recently. CBG’s numerous ‘David versus Goliath’ victories are recounted as Hirsch issues a new call to veteran activists to act now to save the planet.
“What you don’t know is that in these secret negotiations that have gone on the last seven months, DOE, NASA, and Boeing have been resisting complying with that law and attempting to break the promise that they made to the Congress.”