Commentary: Countering a love letter to the nuclear industry

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By Bart Ziegler

In his May 27 commentary, “Correcting the record on SONGS,” Al Bates writes a love letter to the nuclear industry.

Bates fiercely defends the safety measures at San Onofre’s nuclear waste storage facilities. This impassioned defense comes from — you guessed it — a career man in the nuclear industry who took that nuclear engineering degree straight to San Onofre for a job starting in 1980.

We’re not in the business of debating paid shills.

But we stand by the point we made in April to the Encinitas Environmental Commission — that San Onofre needs a facility where nuclear waste canisters can be repaired and replaced without exposing the environment to deadly, radioactive contamination.

This month, to Protect Our Coast, we are bringing Southern California Edison and the California Coastal Commission to court to demand such a facility. Call it a Plan B. Find out how you can support this case by visiting our website.

While Bates and company are quick to obfuscate with technical hairsplitting, we present simple truths:

  • Edison is storing 3.6 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel just 100 feet from the ocean;
  • Sea levels are rising;
  • Climate change increases risks associated with nuclear waste storage;
  • Waste canisters at San Onofre are prone to corrosion and cracking;
  • No one has a plan to move the waste; and
  • Scientific information that Bates says we’re missing can be found on our website.

Learn more at

Bart Ziegler is president of the Samuel Lawrence Foundation.

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