The San Diego County Board of Supervisors today (September 15) voted unanimously to write a letter to the United States Department of Energy requesting the removal of the nuclear waste dump at the now-shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant. It is close to Interstate 5 and four railroad lines and abuts a heavily populated area.
Former San Diego city attorney Mike Aguirre presented a nine-minute presentation showing what went wrong at San Onofre — in particular, the failure of a piece of equipment that was supposed to last 40 years and failed in one year.
Aguirre noted that the earthquake at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011, spread radiation as far as 20 miles. A map showed how much of Southern California, particularly San Diego's North County, would be affected by a similar disaster. The Fukushima nuclear accident investigation commission concluded that the Fukushima disaster was "manmade." After the 1970s oil shock, Japan turned massively to nuclear power. "Nuclear power became an unstoppable force," said the commission, noting, "A tightly knit elite with enormous financial resources had diminishing regard for anything 'not invented here.'"
In an interview, Aguirre said he sees similar forces at work in California. The California Public Utilities Commission has long been corrupt, as the unseemly decision to pass the costs of San Onofre's failure to ratepayers through illegal secret meetings shows. Southern California Edison, the majority owner, has Southern California legislators in its pocket, said Aguirre. The legislature is doing little to reform the commission, despite much media coverage of the corruption.
Aguirre greatly blames the Democratic Party, which refuses to do anything that would upset Democratic governor Jerry Brown. Aguirre said he doubted the city council would pass such a measure because it leans Democratic. Thus, the hubris that made the Fukushima disaster "manmade" is also in evidence over matters related to San Onofre, Aguirre said. The blame belongs in Brown's office, said Aguirre, a Democrat.