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Move the waste off San Onofre beach and inland within Camp Pendleton

Citizens Oversight (2019-07-24) Ray Lutz

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More Info: Stop Nuke Dump


Sign the Petition

Please sign the petition below and join us in pushing for this initiative to move the waste OFF THE BEACH and further INLAND but WITHIN the Camp Pendleton military base.

PROBLEM: 3.6 million pounds of extremely toxic heavy metal waste on the beach.

  1. The waste on the beach is a ridiculous place -- probably the worst place that could be found for 3.6 million pounds of heavy-metal waste.
  2. It is only about 100 ft from the seawall and only inches over the high-water mark.
  3. It is too easy for terrorists to access.
  4. It is too close to the delicate ecosystem of the ocean.
  5. It is a tsunami inundation area,
  6. It is next to the second most traveled railroad in the nation and Interstate 5, an important north-south corridor.
  7. It is near millions of people and there are dense neighborhoods under 2.5 miles away.
  8. The Newport-Inglewood-Rose Canyon fault complex is within 4 miles of the site and is estimated to be capable of a 7.4 magnitude quake.
    • Also see our response to the presentation of the seismic risks at San Onofre and nuclear plants in general, A Prudent View of Earthquake Risks

    • Newport Inglewood Rose canyon Fault.JPG
      Newport-Inglewood-Rose Canyon fault complex is within
      4 miles and capable of a 7.4 magnitude quake.

The usual alternatives are not available and/or unacceptable

  1. Citizens' Oversight filed a lawsuit in 2015 to stop the use of the facility planned for the beach. The result of the lawsuit was a settlement which included $4 million for the hiring of a set of six experts to create a strategic plan and a transportation plan, and use commercially reasonable effort to move the waste to another site. As of the most recent report on April 1, 2019, no progress whatsoever has been reported on any plans, nor have they disclosed any meetings or draft documents. Most recently, they have hired an outside firm to continue the work that was apparently never even started. The settlement deal appears to be a sham. See Settlement To Move San Onofre Waste for more information.
  2. Yucca Mountain was supposed to be the ultimate destination, and it was supposed to open in 1998. Now more than 20 years later, we may as not hold our breath. As it turns out, the site is not at all the right geology for a permanent site, and Nevada wants no part of the project. Even if it were open, the waste is far too hot to intern there without the need for giant ventilation fans for probably 150 years. That hardly makes a lot of sense, but indeed it was in the original plan for the site.
  3. Current thinking is to move it thousands of miles to New Mexico or Texas to a "Consolidated Interim Storage" (CIS) storage facility, The one in New Mexico is named [M1844]["Eddy-Lea"]].
  4. There is a great deal of push-back in NM and TX in terms of accepting this waste. We should be ashamed of ourselves in thinking that someone else should accept our waste problem.
  5. We have learned how difficult it is to handle these 50-ton canisters in the August 3, 2019, San Onofre Canister Drop Incident, where a 50-ton canister ws nearly dropped 18 feet. The Holtec vaults are only about 1500 ft from the spent fuel pools, and they almost lost control of a canister with possible devastating results. How can anyone suggest they be trusted to move them 1350 miles to the New Mexico "Eddy-Lea" proposed site?
  6. Moving them 1350 miles by rail to a New Mexico destination, for example, is about 4800 times further. (The route is roughly along I-5 to the SR-91, I-215 to I-15 to Barstow, then roughly along I-40 through Flagstaff and then over to NM-60 right before Albequerque to Clovis, then south parallel with NM-70 to Roswell, then along NM-285 to Carlsbad and then NM-82 to the proposd site.)
    Overall rail Route to NM site.JPG
    Overall rail route to the proposed New Mexico site is about 1350 miles

  7. The rail route goes through major cities, such as San Clemente, Capistrano Beach, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Nigel, Irvine, Garden Grove, Anaheim, Yorba Linda, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Where along those 1350 miles will protestors find a location to block the trains and perhaps handcuff themselves to the tracks? Where will terrorist groups attack the train and cause a dirty nuclear bomb catastrophe? What confidence do we have that they can accomplish this without a major incident?
    LA Portion of Rail Route to NM.JPG
    Rail route through densely populated communities

  8. The transportation casks have not been tested. We are not sure if this will work at all.
  9. Each train can take a maximum of 5 canisters, each enclosed in a transportation cask. That means there must be no fewer than 25 trips to handle all 125 cans at San Onofre. Trains must travel no faster than 15 mph and be surrounded by protective guards. Assuming the trains actually travel continuously only for 8 hours each night when other trains are not traveling, the trip will take at least 12 days. Given the train must be loaded and unloaded at each end, we can assume 2 months per trip. Thus, the total campaign will take more than four years.
  10. Some of the cans at San Onofre cannot be moved until after 2030. The condition of those cans and whether they can be transported is unknown. It will probably therefore take longer. And if there are any mishaps, the whole affair may be shut down.
  11. We also investigated two other locations in California
    • "Fishel" study: "EXERCISE TO FIND OFFSITE ISFSI LOCATION IN CALIFORNIA" where we concluded that the site was actually "too remote" and also realize even in the desert, all of California is in a high-seismic risk area as "Amboy Crater" demonstrates, which was near the site we used in the exercise. The waste must be move substantially further (i.e. at least to NM or TX) before we exit the high-hazard area.
    • Eagle Mountain Idea -- This was based on suggestions from the community. Eagle Mountain is a former iron mine about 50 miles NW of the Salton Sea. However, it has been targeted for a pumped-storage solution at this juncture. The site would definitely require substatial rebuiding of the railway that leads off the main line at the Salton Sea up to the site.

SOLUTION: Keep the waste at Camp Pendleton, move inland approx. five miles and to a higher elevation

  1. Moving the waste to a higher elevation and away from the coast but still in Camp Pendleton will remove it from most of the hazards of the current location. It is recommended that it be moved at least five miles from the coast to reduce terrorist threat, risk to the rail and freeway corridor, risks to dense populations, and to reduce corrosion risk (as inland will reduce the salt content of the air.) Please note that the exact location would need to be determined with much more investigation regarding geology, access, and all other normal constraints.
    Proposed location 5 miles from the coast 3.JPG
    Proposed location is about 5 miles from the coast and away from the public

  2. The route to the proposed site about 5 miles from the coast will use local road ways, mostly within Camp Pendleton, and therefore away from high populations, protests, and terrorist interception. Most of the road already exists, but it will likely need to be improved to handle the weight of a single canister with its protective overpack. The last mile or so of the road would need to be newly constructed.
  3. The total transporation distance is about 10 miles for the suggested site. If moved at only 2 miles an hour, this distance can be accomplished in only one day for each canister. Thus, all 125 canisters, in theory, could be moved in only 4 months insteat of 4 years. The total cost to move the waste would be far less than transporting it 1350 miles.
    Route to proposed Pendleton Site 10 miles by restricted roads.JPG
    Proposed location is about 5 miles from the coast and away from the public

  4. If both Greenland and Antarctica both fully melt, sealevel is predicted to rise no higher than about 230 feet. Therefore, site should be at least that high. Proposed sites in Camp Pendleton over five miles inland are over 450 feet in elevation, meeting this requirement, plus we don't know what will happen to the Pacific plate in the upcoming "big one." (The "Mesa", just across the freeway from the plant and previously used by SCE for offices and other buildings, is only about 100 ft in elevation, and thus is too low for a long-term location, although it is certainly better than being right next to the water.) For more information on sealevel rise, see "Sea Level Rise Can No Longer be Stopped, what next?" at (This link is indexed to the point when he mentions the maximum rise, but the whole lecture is great.)
  5. The earthquake threat is not avoided at this location. However, moving inland five miles more than doubles the distance from the Newport-Inglewood-Rose Canyon fault complex and that should reduce this risk substantially although not entirely. We also found no other possible site in CA that had very low seismic risk.
  6. Camp Pendleton is a military base and is not heavily populated. Military personnel can be utilized to provide security and it will be a convenient security training opportunity.
  7. The ultimate mission of the military is to protect the public from threats. Since our venture into nuclear energy was brought on by the development of nuclear weapons, it is only proper and fair for the military to take on the responsibility of protecting the waste at this site.
  8. Moving the waste to this site will provide the opportunity to improve the canisters to a "thick" two-layer system utilizing a pressurized outer shell that can be easily inspected for leaks and replaced if the outer shell is compromised. This will allow the design life of the cask system to be easily pushed to over 1,000 years instead of only 40. See the Helms Proposal for more information.
  9. The waste that they say cannot be moved until 2030 can probably be moved much sooner if it is transported only locally and not on public thoroughfares.
  10. Keeping the waste within state and preferably within the service area of the people who received the benefit of the power is a responsible way to deal with the waste rather than pawning it off on someone else.
  11. If deep borehole technology continues to be developed utilizing oil-well drilling technology (See, a site within Camp Pendleton may be suitable to place the waste underground without the risk of moving it thousands of miles to a CIS site first. The Pendleton Option is compatible with that possibility, and any site investigation should include investigation os suitability for deep isolation deep borehole technology.


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Please sign the petition at this link: Petition to Move the Waste Inland 5 miles in Camp Pendleton

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Media Form edit

Title Move the waste off San Onofre beach and inland within Camp Pendleton
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Ray Lutz
Pub Date 2019-07-24
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Keywords Stop Nuke Dump
Related Keywords Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Waste, San Onofre Canister Drop Incident, Settlement To Move San Onofre Waste, Shut San Onofre
Media Type Article
Media Group News
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I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
LA Portion of Rail Route to NM.JPGJPG LA Portion of Rail Route to NM.JPG manage 122 K 25 Jul 2019 - 03:26 Raymond Lutz Portion of the rail route through densely populated areas
MoveTheWasteInland-Banner.jpgjpg MoveTheWasteInland-Banner.jpg manage 202 K 25 Jul 2019 - 05:13 Raymond Lutz Move The Waste 5 Miles Banner
Newport Inglewood Rose canyon Fault.JPGJPG Newport Inglewood Rose canyon Fault.JPG manage 93 K 25 Jul 2019 - 04:14 Raymond Lutz Newport-Inglewood Rose Canyon Fault Complex
Overall rail Route to NM site.JPGJPG Overall rail Route to NM site.JPG manage 160 K 25 Jul 2019 - 03:23 Raymond Lutz 1350 miles from San Onofre to New Mexico CIS site
PendletonOptionHandout.pdfpdf PendletonOptionHandout.pdf manage 310 K 11 Aug 2019 - 22:35 Raymond Lutz Pendleton Option Handout v2
Proposed location 5 miles from the coast 3.JPGJPG Proposed location 5 miles from the coast 3.JPG manage 168 K 25 Jul 2019 - 03:52 Raymond Lutz Proposed site with context of surrounding areas
Proposed location 5 miles from the coast.JPGJPG Proposed location 5 miles from the coast.JPG manage 87 K 25 Jul 2019 - 03:42 Raymond Lutz Proposed location five miles from the coast.
Route to proposed Pendleton Site 10 miles by restricted roads.JPGJPG Route to proposed Pendleton Site 10 miles by restricted roads.JPG manage 142 K 25 Jul 2019 - 03:58 Raymond Lutz Route to the proposed site is about 10 miles on restricted roads.
Topic revision: r13 - 02 Oct 2020, RaymondLutz
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