In late January and in the wee hours, Californians received a tsunami watch, triggered by a 7.9 earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska. That type of warning is underscored all along the Pacific coastline and especially in Southern California, given that it is the location of a now decommissioned nuclear plant — but one that still houses spent radioactive fuel. To remind, Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crumbled on March 11, 2011. The earthquake didn’t do it. But the resulting tsunami sure did. In that case, the powerful waves knocked out the backup power that cools the radioactive fuel rods. And without such power, the reactor’s core suffers a meltdown and deadly radiation can escape. As for Southern California generally, the structure is in place to deal not just with an incident at Edison International’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, or SONGS, but also with respect to all types of emergencies: wildfires, flash floods and earthquakes, to name a few. In all instances, the goal is to keep the calm, restore service and not place the lives of workers at risk while doing so.
Forbes 25th Feb 2018 read more »