Kelly Slater San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

Kelly takes to Facebook to expression his strong aversion to the state’s decision to bury nuclear waste so close to the ocean.

The Inertia

Kelly is pissed. And it’s with good reason. Despite widespread opposition, the California Coastal Commission approved on Tuesday the controversial plans to bury 2,700 steel castes of spent nuclear fuel in concrete bunkers 125 feet from the sea wall at San Onofre Beach. One proponent of the project claimed, “I wish that there were other options that were available now, but frankly I don’t see them.” Really? Burying them 125 feet from the water’s edge is the most viable solution? Kelly Slater thinks not:

So they’re planning on burying San-o’s nuclear waste at San-o for the next 20 years. Then what? They really gonna take it ‘away’? To where? At what point will we wake up before the fact and stop listening to people trying to sell Nuclear to the masses claiming it’s the safest and least expensive option? The endgame of this stuff is no joke. It won’t go away during our time on earth. We have the technology to move past this nowadays. Humans are a mess. What we leave in our wake is just a symptom of our ways of thinking. But now back to San onofre…thoughts?

Bill Alley, author of Too Hot to Touch, a book about the problems associated with storing nuclear waste, suggests that it would be much safer to transport the fuel to dry casks rather than leaving it in cooling ponds on site at San Onofre.

“The casks are fine for a couple of decades—certainly better than the pools,” Alley said. “But there’s no solution in the longer term, and that’s what really needs to be worked through.”


Alley and Slater touch on an important note: this is just a temporary solution to a much bigger problem. We must look beyond 20 years if we truly want to safeguard from another disastrous incident. After all, this is precisely the mentality that contributed to the most catastrophic oil and nuclear waste spills. Metal and concrete are NOT indestructible. Period.

San Onofre, 1963. Photo: LeRoy Grannis

San Onofre, 1963. Photo: LeRoy Grannis

Coastal Commission member and San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox said, “I wish that there were other options that were available now, but frankly I don’t see them.”

The permit is expected to be challenged by opposers in court, but Cox and other commissioners rejected suggestions during lengthy public comments that Edison should be forced to wait and explore other options, saying delays hold risks, too.

Edison’s Tom Palmisano, chief nuclear officer at San Onofre, warned the commission that rejecting the permit application would only prolong the time nuclear spent fuel stays in cooling pools that are less foolproof than dry casks.

With the daunting thought of “The Big One” looming in the minds of California residents, a quick, long-term solution is of the utmost importance. That is, unless we want a repeat of Fukishima, in which case the entire world should be concerned. Let’s do something about this and let’s do it now.



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