A flaw was discovered in the canisters that each hold as much toxic fuel as Chernobyl at the San Onofre nuclear plant. There is no known way to open any of the sealed canisters already buried at San Onofre beach in order to fix them or to transfer the toxic fuel to a safer canister.
The San Onofre Nuclear plant is in the process of moving the highly toxic and dangerous spent fuel into metal canisters and burying those canisters next to the beach at San Onofre.
Despite extensive objections (a subject for another article) that work is proceeding using new and unproven canister designs.
At a public meeting on Thursday night, March 22, 2018, the plant announced that they found a loose, broken bolt inside one of the new canisters. It is not clear whether that flaw will cause the canisters to fail in some way.
The discovery of the flaw halted work for 10 days, but to the surprise of local residents, work has since resumed.
Tom Palmisano, Chief Nuclear Officer of the plant, did his best to calm fears about the stability of those flawed canisters, however there are many unanswered questions and a lot of public skepticism.
Two important points:
- There is no known way to open a sealed canister in order to fix it or to transfer the toxic fuel to a safer canister
- The manufacturer of the canister has not yet confirmed whether the flaw compromises the ability to transport the fuel
The article below from the San Diego Tribune gives a very good overview of the situation: