California, Chernobyl, dangers of nuclear, Diablo Canyon, Diablo Canyon nuclear generating station, earthquake hazard, environment, near-shore earthquakes, NRC, nuclear, nuclear accident, nuclear disaster, nuclear energy, nuclear power, nuclear reactors, nuclear safety, nuclear waste, radiation, radioactive waste, risk management, San Andreas Fault, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, SONGS, tsunami, UCERF, US NRC, USA, USGS
“The Great 1857 Fort Tejon Earthquake: The Last “Big One”, Date/Time: January 9, 1857 about 8:20am PST, Magnitude Mw 8.0 approximately Location/Depth: 35.72N 120.32W, Descriptive location: 45 miles NE of San Luis Obispo, Faulting type: right-lateral strike-slip, Faults involved: San Andreas Fault, Length of surface rupture: about 225 miles (360 km), Maximum surface offset about 30 ft (9 meters)”
USGS Earthquakes over last week (dots), with earthquake hazard UCERF-3/USGS (lines), and Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station and San Onofre Nuclear Power Station (More detailed maps below)
“The San Andreas fault, which is more than 700 miles (1100 km) in length, is the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates…”
San Andreas Fault Photo by Scott Haefner, USGS
“On January 9, 1857, the M 7.9 Fort Tejon earthquake occurred just north of the Carrizo Plain. At Wallace Creek, in the Carrizo Plain, the fault moved 30 feet (9m), forming the offset stream channel seen… above. The rupture zone extended nearly 220 mi (350km) from near Parkfield at the northwest end to the vicinity of San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles.” http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/nca/kap/
USGS: Increased Likelihood of Megaquake in California
“… in the new study, the estimate for the likelihood that California will experience a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years has increased from about 4.7% for UCERF2 to about 7.0% for UCERF3.
The new likelihoods are due to the inclusion of possible multi-fault ruptures, where earthquakes are no longer confined to separate, individual faults, but can occasionally rupture multiple faults simultaneously,” said lead author and USGS scientist Ned Field. “This is a significant advancement in terms of representing a broader range of earthquakes throughout California’s complex fault system.” http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=4146#.VP_kx3-9KSM
Greater or equal to Magnitude 6.7 Probability
Probability (lines) overlaid with earthquakes (dots) over the past week plus circles showing how the 5.2 earthquake was felt.
Diablo Canyon-San Onofre Nuclear Reactors
They both sit out on the waterfront, making the risk of near-shore tsunami with no warning a special hazard.
Hazard Maps: http://www.wgcep.org/UCERF3 (2014 Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities, 2015, UCERF3- USGS); Overlay with USGS earthquakes from the past week (Dots), plus circles showing how recent M5.2 – 20km NNW of Borrego Springs, California 10 June 2016 was felt: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/ci37374687#general
Increased Risk of M 7.7 or Greater Rupture for UCERF3, compared to UCERF2
Increased Probability of 7.7 or greater rupture in 5 years
All M>=7.7 Ruptures, 5 Year Forecast Sub Section Participation Probabilities
The maps appear essentially the same, so apparently risk has doubled for both 5 years and 30 years. The red lines-increased risk clearly impact both San Onofre and Diablo Canyon. San Onofre is no longer operating, but is being “decommissioned” and nuclear waste remains in cooling pools. In June 2015 the US NRC removed off-site emergency planning for San Onofre and fire staff has been reduced, even though the radioactive waste remains highly dangerous. See: http://sanonofresafety.org/emergency-planning-resources/
Graphic by SanOnofreSafety. Learn more here: Sanonofresafety.org
Besides the risk of loss of backup power, loss of cooling and who knows what else could go wrong at Diablo Canyon in the event of an earthquake: “reports from Diablo Canyon personnel that the spent fuel pool has had a persistent minor leak for many years. It was unclear to staff if leakage of the borated water has degraded either the concrete or embedded steel reinforcement that is inaccessible for inspection. PG&E’s response indicated that the Unit 2 spent fuel pool has had persistent minor leakage varying from 50 to 975 milliliters (ml) per week, with a typical range of 300 to 500 ml per week, and that the evaluations to date have not been able to identify conclusively the root cause of the leakage. The path of the leakage is through the liner to the spent fuel pool leak chase monitoring location. Structures that could be potentially affected by the presence of the borated water are the spent fuel pool concrete and structural steel. PG&E concluded that, based on evaluation of industry experience on spent fuel pool leakage, the amount of leakage being experienced was acceptable as there is a negligible adverse effect on the concrete and reinforcing steel. However, the extent of damage to the Unit 2 spent fuel pool concrete and embedded steel reinforcement remains unknown in inaccessible areas.” “California Energy Commission, 2013, “2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report“, Publication Number: CEC-100-2013-001-CMF” http://www.energy.ca.gov/2013publications/CEC-100-2013-001/CEC-100-2013-001-CMF.pdf
Unfortunately, Dry Cask Storage is not the miracle solution which many wish for. This is especially true because the inner, unvented, casks are exceptionally thin (1/2 in.); are of questionable quality, and are set out unprotected, excepting vented covers, on spent fuel pads (parking lots).
Holtec Casks at Diablo Canyon showing huge size for only 1/2 inch thick non-vented canisters standing between the public and dangerous levels of ionizing radiation. They are surrounded by a thicker vented shell.
Furthermore, for over a decade Holtec has engaged in frequent requests for NRC exemptions which impact safety and quality! For more info, do a search for Holtec within our blog, and consult Sanonofresafety.org Although most of the focus has been Holtec, the other licensed dry casks do not appear better. A Manhattan-like project for nuclear waste is needed. In the meanwhile, there appears need for adding more spent fuel pools to reduce crowding, and reinforcement or even replacement (e.g. Diablo) of the existing ones, and somehow covering them (vented) against earthquake seiche. The spent fuel must spend some time in the pools anyway. A solution must be quickly implemented. Sending aging, flimsy, spent fuel casks to sit outside, without being covered by a solid building, in west Texas or Utah, as planned, is not a solution. While better protecting California, it constitutes a menace for most of north America. Where-ever the waste is stored it should be protected in a bunker-like facility which is monitored and has protective filters to guard against release to the environment.
More about the 1857 Fort Tejon Earthquake:
“The earthquake ruptured a substantial portion of the southern San Andreas fault, but not the entire length. Thomas H. Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, stated that the slip likely stopped in the area near Cajon Pass, perhaps because the tectonic stresses on that part of the fault had been released several decades earlier during the 1812 Wrightwood earthquake. The average slip along the fault was 4.5 meters (15 ft), and a maximum offset of 9 meters (30 ft) was recorded in the Carrizo Plain area in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. With an estimated magnitude of 7.9, this was the last “Big One” in Southern California. The extreme southernmost portion of the San Andreas fault, which terminates near Bombay Beach at the Salton Sea, last ruptured in 1680. Surface faulting may have extended beyond the boundaries of the regularly acknowledged slip length. Researchers recorded first and second-hand accounts of the ground crack, which was understood to be recent surface faulting and not just the topography of the existing rift. On the extreme northern end of the rupture zone, the surface cracking extended 80 kilometers (50 mi) north of Cholame into San Benito County. On the southern end, the population centers were not as close to the fault, and early observers were probably limited to the stretch of the fault between Fort Tejon and Elizabeth Lake, as that was close to the Stockton – Los Angeles Road, the primary inland north−south route then.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1857_Fort_Tejon_earthquake
Locations on map exported from wikipedia:
Study excludes the Cascadia subduction zone:http://www.wgcep.org/sites/wgcep.org/files/UCERF3_postcard.png
A few slightly different maps here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/california-largemega-quake-risk-nuclear-power-plants/