My Observations from April 6, Press Conference and Meeting Directly with the NRC

We had a successful media event in anticipation of our meeting scheduled for the afternoon with NRC Chairman Jaczko.

We had a successful media event in anticipation of our meeting scheduled for the afternoon with NRC Chairman Jaczko. A BIG thank you goes out to those who could attend on a Friday morning. You played an important role in amplifying our message to the NRC and to the public at large.

We were allowed to listen in at the 3:00pm press conference held at the Dana Point DoubleTree Inn where Jaczko took on a flurry of questions from reporters far and wide. The most striking information I got from these questions was that Edison might try to make a case to treat Unit Three as a unique set of circumstances not consistent with Unit Two, even though they are identical twin machines under the same exact conditions. We simply can’t allow that concept to gain traction because Edison will use it to justify starting up Unit Two while further analysis continues on Unit Three. They totally disregard public safety in even making that suggestion, glossing over the fact that we could have had a meltdown based on the fragility of these new steam generators. Now they expect to be able to plug a few tubes on Unit Two and hope that our luck will hold up so they can continue to reap vast profits over the summer. We don’t need their dangerous and outdated machinery to meet our energy needs no matter how hard they try to convince us that we do. We will prevent this from ever happening if at all possible.

At our private conference with Jaczko later in the day, I was asked to lead the discussion since I had requested the meeting in the first place. That was a difficult position to be in since we had invited such well informed people that had lots of important information and questions to discuss in a 30 minute time slot. We started with brief introductions and statements from all 20 or so people that were in attendance. 

I began the discussion with posters that cited some of our biggest concerns; the Safety Record, the Evacuation Map, the Tsunami Wall Photos and Tsunami Inundation Map. Right away I made it clear that the NRC had lost the confidence of the public and that we were here to give them a chance to begin to repair their image. The Tsunami Wall images were particularly effective in showing that the wall was not only grossly inadequate, but represented the way the public is being misled in many other ways as well. Jaczko listened and responded with sincere interest. I was pleased to hear his own explanation of the reason for why they call a 14′ wall a 30′ wall because it confirmed the absurdity of it all. By the time he added all of the factors that total 30′ from “mean low low tide” with high tide, storm surge and the expectation that the largest tsunami anticipated would only be 6′ high, there only remained a 3′ margin of error. He actually admitted that calling this a 30′ tsunami wall was wrong and undermined the credibility of Edison and the NRC.He seemed genuinely interested in our documents and asked for copies to be sent to him.

The discussion was then opened up to the group. Chairman Jaczko extened our time limit considerably, anxious to hear from all that were present. Irvine City Councilman Larry Agran spoke eloquently about inadequate evacuation plans and the obvious need to decommission San Onofre as soon as possible. These sentiments were echoed by Laguna Beach Mayor Protem, Verna Rollinger calling for decommission. Santa Ana Coucilman, Miguel Pulido, who also heads the Energy Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors spoke convincingly of the need for Edison to move from dangerous and unreliable nuclear power to the abundant promising choices available with current technology. Mayor and City Council Members, Lesa Heebner and Mike Nichols, Del Mar City Council Members Don Mosier and Lee Haydu;spoke for immediate action to be taken in regard to lessons learned from Fukushima and the need for moving highly radioactive waste on site to safer “dry storage” containers.

Unfortunately this information was not made public because the NRC had determined the press would not be allowed. What a missed opportunity that was, considering the significant and irrefuttable questions from some key representatives of citizens groups and elected officials ranging from San Diego to Santa Ana. I will be adding commentary from others who were also present to fill in the gaps here, but I think this captures the essence of our meeting with the NRC Chair and Staff. 

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