Is anyone concerned about the safety of the San Onofre nuclear generation station?

Asked by M. C., San Clemente, CA Thu Mar 24, 2011

Is anyone concerned about the safety of the San Onofre nuclear generating station? San Onofre was built to withstand a 7.0 earthquake. KPBS cites an environmental reporter who says the "slip shake" fault should not cause a quake larger than 7.0. He says an earthquake of the magnitude that struck Japan in March of 2011 should not happen in San Clemente.

In contrast, the San Clemente Times quotes a civil engineer and safety expert who says concerning the current safety measures at San Onofre, “I would like to see them go above and beyond this because they are in a very highly populated areas.” So the environmental reporter is not concerned but the engineer is concerned.

The Richter scale is a logarithmic scale, so it seems that a magnitude 9 earthquake is one hundred times as strong as a magnitude 7 earthquake. What do you believe to be true about the safety of the San Onofre plant?

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Rudi Hofmann, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, El Segundo, CA
Thu Mar 24, 2011
BEST ANSWER
Karen in the early 80's we purchased a condo in the Cancun Racket Club in SJC. After we first saw the property and showed interest, our agent gave us a brochure on San Onofre. It stated that we where in the first zone to be evacuated in an emergency and alerted us to the monthly practice siren alerts with all exit routes. That was straight forward. I don't know if it was required.

This is an interesting link on this subject. It mentions Dana Point and San Clemente: http://blogs.reuters.com/prism-money/2011/03/18/what-happens…

Happy funding, Rudi
Web Reference:  http://www.umboc.com
2 votes
Karen Parsons…, Agent, Laguna Beach, CA
Thu Mar 24, 2011
Hi,

I live in Mission Viejo and I'm not worried. I know these things are scary! I have a dear friend who is a nuclear engineer at San Onofre. For one thing, the movement during one of our earthquakes is different from that of Japan, so the intensity would not affect our reactor in the same manner. Also he says that San Onofre is built differently and has a better system of layers.

I don't understand it all...but this is someone I respect and trust. I think the good that nuclear energy provides is worth the risks. Even with the disaster that Japan is dealing with, it appears there will be very little permanent damage...I hope this is in fact the case.

Karen
1 vote
M. C., Home Buyer, San Clemente, CA
Sat Mar 26, 2011
This is a clarification to the original question. I said that a magnitude 9 earthquake is one hundred times as strong as a magnitude 7 earthquake. The US Geological Survey website showed me the error. It's not one hundred times as strong. Rather, the measured amplitude is one hundred times as great.

The USGS site goes on to say that a whole number increment of one in the Richter scale represents about 31 times more energy. Therefore a magnitude 9 earthquake is many hundreds of times more powerful than a magnitude seven quake. The earthquake power calculator at http://www.convertalot.com/earthquake_power__calculator.html seems to show an increase in power of nearly one thousand times.
0 votes
Karen Parsons…, Agent, Laguna Beach, CA
Sat Mar 26, 2011
@Rudi....I'm just not worried. I have a great deal of trust in the experts and know a few. I'm sure there are many who are worried, but I just don't happen to be one of them. Happy Weekend! :)
0 votes
BG, Home Buyer, Phoenix, AZ
Thu Mar 24, 2011
if a 9.0 hit California, I think most people will be gone by stuff falling on top of them first or by fire.
0 votes
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