Monday, March 12, 2012


          The town is Okuma. A year ago it had a population of around 10,000. It was a fairly wealthy community, not rich but comfortable middle-class. It had some of the best schools in the area. There was a popular softball league. A lot of people worked as engineers and technicians at the nearby nuclear plant. The radiation levels are high in Okuma, but I learned that the real danger is the dust. Don’t touch your eyes in the exclusion zone. Don’t rub your mouth. Don’t pick your nose. And never, under any circumstances, eat anything at all. The question is, will Temecula become the next Okuma?        
          Temecula, CA - A glance at your nearest world globe will tell you that Japan shares the same latitude as California but that’s not the only similarity unfortunately. Besides also being located on the oceanfront, vulnerable to tsunamis, and close to a fault line, we have an outlived/outdated nuclear installation also protected by an overly simpatico regulatory agency, all of whom live outside of the area that would be critically affected if said facility became our Fukushima. In short, our valley, our wine, our paradise would be Fuk’d. Here’s how followed by here’s why. This is a call for action and this reporter doesn’t care who takes credit for it, just as long as this looming disaster is averted.
          When the Fukushima plant was destroyed, billions of microscopic particles of radioactive cesium were shot into the sky like a volcano belching ash. The cesium mixed with steam into what were effectively radioactive clouds. Then, it started to snow. The snow brought the radioactive cesium to the ground.The radioactive cesium is still all around, even though you can’t see it. It’s on the trees, on the roads and on the houses. It’s on the cows, and it’s in the cows. It’s in the wood and the dirt and the worms. Every time it rains, the radioactive cesium moves around. It’s in the water too. And that water is what feeds all the plants and crops. When Fukushima first blew, the U.S. warned all Americans to move 50 miles away, though the Japanese government finally said 12 miles was sufficient. In the last days we have heard the watered down but still heartbreaking stories coming out of Japan marking the one year anniversary of Fukushima.
          Let’s look at the fifty-mile zone since I trust the NRC to know the theoretical safe distance for an incident like Fukushima. 50 miles from San Onofre includes the extreme southern portion of LA and San Bernardino counties, the most populated parts of Riverside and San Diego counties, and all, that’s right, all of Orange County and Catalina. In total, over 8.5 million people would be affected. Out of those 8.5, T-town is around ground zero. There is NO emergency plan for evac (think the 91 is bad after 3PM on Friday, you ain’t seen shit!); and guess what, the NRC does not require a current safe emergency plan for San Onofre [NRC Reg. 50.47].
          Unsafely storing tons of toxic waste while producing 600 lbs of crap a day, the plant is not required to add safety systems that the NRC deems too expensive for the value in lives they could save. This value is figured by NRC standards that are roughly 1/3 the value used by other federal agencies. As I write this exclusive, the NRC is under investigation for reducing safety standards for older plants to keep them operating, while maintaining higher standards for newer plants both operating and proposed. This convoluted reasoning is based on the fact that nuclear plants are tremendously expensive to build and don’t come into the black until late in their originally planned life span.
          San Onofre, units 2 & 3 were originally licensed for a 40-year life span running from 1983 until 2023 and then shutdown. Next year while everyone’s attention is centered on the elections, the plan is to get that extension pushed another 20 years to 2042. The NRC does not require either seismic or tsunami studies for license renewal. If it did, it might see that the 30 foot floodwall is only 14 feet at high tide. When you add in that San Onofre has 10 times the safety violations than the industry standard coupled with the NRC’s own cited Safety Culture issues including but not limited to, poor decision making, employees reluctant to report plant violations [whistle-blowing] because of management retaliation, and that human error has contributed to all major nuclear disasters in the world, the time has come for those of us who are aware, to look out for the other 8,500,000 folks in the fallout zone before it is too late. Yesterday hundreds of protesters converged near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Reactors there remain in a state of continuing high-level meltdown.
          I know a lot of people in a host of positions read this little electronic rag because periodically I ‘step on someone’s dick’, as the old Jewish parlance goes, and I get a call. So in the middle of the latest news on a national level, or an international scene, this bit of news is for all us ‘locals’ to put at the top of our bucket list. Why? Besides being inside the ‘drop zone’ for particles since the wind would push any fallout right onto us, any future dreams of home owner payout due to insurance are nil as are all plans of entrepreneurial prowess for profit.You can put your two cents in on having a radiation monitoring in San Clemente on March 20, 6PM, at the city council meeting happening there. 
But don’t take my word for this story. Please check and research for yourself at these sites;,,,,,,,,,, and CREED, the Coalition for Responsible Ethical Environmental Decisions.
          This issue isn’t going away unless we make it, just like the rock quarry. If you didn’t want the silica dust, trust me when I say radioactive Cesium dust will be much worse. Don’t be fooled by words of ‘power needed’ and ‘energy blackouts’ from the LAO, Legislative Analyst Office. Their financial analysis is flawed by being based on hearsay from the CAISO (California Independent System Operators) staff, all ex-power company execs. Southern California Edison is the major owner/operator of San Onofre, which now brings in $1,000,000 a day in profit.
          Look at your kids and grandkids, and your dreams, are they worth a mil a day, or are they priceless?

1 comment:

  1. This is terrifying. I just want to move the hell out of CA... the USA when I see this.