I don’t know about you, but the thought of combining an ocean view with 1,800 tons of radioactive nuclear waste gives me a queasy feeling. Admittedly, for me the quease is just speculative, but for the residents in San Clemente, CA - just up the road from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station - queasiness is an everyday reality.
The San Onofre plant was closed in June 2013 because California no longer needs electricity. Residents can make do by rubbing cat fur and touching elevator buttons, along with the occasional solar panel and windmill - environmentalists willing.
And, even though the 150-ton turbines have stopped spinning and producing electricity for Southern California, the LA Times reminds us what remains in the plant is still generating plenty of controversy.
The nuclear waste is currently stored in “massive concrete casks.” Only aging in these casks isn’t necessarily a good thing, because there is no good vintage for nuclear waste. Besides this storage isn’t meant to be permanent. Just as storage for the other 79,000 tons of nuclear debris spread across the nation wasn’t meant to be permanent, yet there the fuel rods lie.
The same federal government Democrats are volunteering to take over the nation’s health care is also in charge of storing the nation’s nuclear waste. Naturally, both programs are in various stages of meltdown. There’s usually a single supplier, escalating cost and no one wants to buy the end product. The feds were required to have a permanent storage facility completed by 1998.
Call it “if you don’t like your nuclear waste, you don’t have to keep it.”
Almost twenty years later the feds haven’t shipped so much as a glow-in-the-dark watches’ worth of nuclear waste and the facility for permanent storage still doesn’t exist.
Naturally, most of the problems are caused by irrational fanatics that reject science in favor of taboos and superstition. And those are just the Democrats!
Outside Congress, the same greenies that condemn “fossil fuels” because they produce carbon dioxide, also refuse to support nuclear power, which produces absolutely zero carbon.
Since the first commercial nuclear power plant went online in the US there’s been exactly one death attributed to nuclear power generation, according to Wikipedia. More people have died from hysterical nuclear power demonstrations than have been harmed by the plants themselves.
A rational person, even one that believed in “global warming,” should realize that storing all the country’s spent nuclear fuel in a single location beats having it scattered willy-nilly like so many Easter eggs.
Unfortunately their aversion to all things nuclear is combined with aversion to rational thought. Any attempt to consolidate nuclear waste in a single location, either temporary or permanent, is met with a blizzard of lawsuits, a herd of hippies and bureaucratic redtape.
Opponents call this obstruction “lawfare.” The goal is to make any nuclear operation so expensive due to lawsuits and regulatory delay that the industry will collapse. It doesn’t matter that the residents living near the nuclear waste want it moved. As Thomas Palisano, of Southern California Edison, told the Times, “It doesn’t make any sense to store the fuel at all these sites. The public doesn’t want the spent fuel here. Well, the fuel is here.”
And it’s likely to stay.
Anti-nuclear groups, funded by rich people that don’t live near glowing fuel rods, told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission they’ll fight any attempt to create “temporary consolidated storage sites” in addition to their life’s work of fighting a permanent storage site.
Nazis barricaded in the Fuhrer Bunker, waiting for the super weapon that would win the war, are no more monomaniacal than the anti-nuclear crowd. Even areas that have volunteered as a storage site are blocked.
The Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians offered to create an interim storage facility on its reservation located about an hour away from Salt Lake City.
It’s interesting that when an Indian tribe declares it doesn’t want a pipeline even coming close to its land the left is immediately on board. But when an Indian tribe wants to store nuclear waste on its property the Great White Non-Profit knows better.
The NRC took its sweet time evaluating the plan, but after nine years approved it. Then the greenies filed suit and the state simply blockaded the reservation.
The permanent storage site was supposed to be Yucca Mountain in Nevada. But Sen. Harry Reid (D-NIMBY) single-handedly blocked that.
Now instead of watching a single storage site, the feds reimburse power companies for guarding innumerable sites across the country. This increases the expense and the danger of something going wrong.
Which is no skin off the nose of the anti-nuclear fanatics, but ripe with possibilities for the local jihadis.
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at email@example.com.