The HI-STORM UMAX cask model by Holtec International, used to store dry spent nuclear fuel, has been criticized in public meetings as being susceptible to cracking after years of storage. Holtec and Southern California Edison were awarded a permit to store spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station site last year.

Image: Published by Holtec International, as posted by Soapbox

Letter from Donna Gilmore, San Clemente

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s 51 nuclear waste canisters may be cracking. They cannot be inspected, repaired or maintained and have no early warning prior to a radiation release. Each canister contains about as much Cesium-137 as released from Chernobyl. Waste can explode if exposed to air. Radiation will go wherever the wind blows. Southern California Edison has no plans in place to stop this. They plan more thin-walled (five-eighths-inch) canisters. A 2015 Sandia National Laboratories report states once started, cracks can penetrate the canister wall in less than five years. San Onofre canister loading began in 2003.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Mark Lombard said canisters cannot be inspected. Holtec’s canister vendor said they cannot be repaired.

Southern California Edison’s Coastal Permit required Special Conditions: canisters must be inspected, repaired, maintained, monitored and transportable—but only after 20 years! Communities must demand the Coastal Commission revoke SCE Permit 9-15-0162 until Special Conditions are met. SCE can meet these with thick-walled (10 inches or more) metal casks used in most of the world.

To transport, canisters need up to 45 years cooling and cannot have cracks. Canisters may start exploding before moved. And what community wants cracking nuclear waste canisters?

Donna Gilmore, on March 31, 2016 in Letters to the Editor, SOAPBOX, as posted at