San Clemente was the first city to declare that living next to a nuclear waste dump was unacceptable, the evacuation plan was woefully inadequate and that safer dry storage for nuclear waste should ta

San Clemente was the first city to declare that living next to a nuclear waste dump was unacceptable, the evacuation plan was woefully inadequate and that safer dry storage for nuclear waste should take place immediately.

Solana Beach went a step further, choosing to include an important staff recommendation that San Clemente’s City Council declined as part of their action. Solana Beach will include a call for change to the way that the Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners are appointed. As things stand now, 4 of the 5 NRC Commissioners were employed by the industry and those four are now opposing the Chairman Jaczko. Dr. Jaczko’s professional career has been devoted to science, and its use and impact in the public policy arena.  He is advocating for more quickly implementing the lessons learned from Fukushima but is being harassed by the others calling for his dismissal.

While San Clemente had a unanimous vote on what to include in their letters to other Federal, State and local elected officials, Solana Beach had one vote short of being unanimous when their Mayor opted to reserve judgement, saying he needed more “factual ” information to make a decision, so he abstained. 4-0 is not bad though, especially when only 2 votes were hopefully going our way.

Following persuasive and passionate public testimony, Edison’s representative was called to the podium to update the status of this nuclear power plant which is currently shutdown due to radiation leaking from new steam generators, (note that this could have been avoided had they listened to whistleblowers warnings during installation). Chris Abel, speaking on behalf of Edison made a feeble attempt to reassure the council that safety was their number one concern. His answers seemed contrived and evasive lacking in content and credibility. When the very astute and well informed councilwoman, Lesa Heebner challenged him on something as basic as his awareness of their worst safety ratings from the NRC, he had to retract his previous statement about not knowing of any such rating. Basically, he was caught in a lie, undermining his credibility and that of Edison as well.

The representative from SDG&E declined to comment on the citizen’s claims that blackouts this summer were not to be expected in the absence of nuclear power. Those in attendance were left with the distinct impression that we were being misled by an industry that cares more about profit than the well being of the general public, while regulators responsible for our safety look the other way.

In the hopes of being reasonably optimistic I have to remind myself about the long journey ahead, and accept the fact that there is a danger in letting our guard down too soon. Let’s just be grateful that another city has confirmed our distrust of the NRC and safety related issues. While I feel encouraged, I do not feel like this is a done deal. There is much public education yet to be done in a cohesive and responsible manner. But we are making progress.