No way out: Freeway gridlock could stall evacuation from San Onofre
A year after leak, online tool shows your distance — and risk — from accident at crippled reactor
WASHINGTON, D.C. — One year ago, a leak of radiation caused an emergency shutdown of a reactor at the San Onofre nuclear plant — a crisis that led to the discovery of unprecedented damage to critical equipment and has kept the plant closed ever since. But Southern California Edison wants to experimentally restart one of the crippled reactors.
If this experiment fails the result could be a massive release of radiation and the evacuation of millions of Southern Californians. Would you need to evacuate? Where would you go?
Now, a new interactive online mapping tool from Friends of the Earth shows Southern Californians just how far they are from Southern California Edison’s crippled reactors. If you’re in the official 10-mile evacuation zone, the site shows you where you’re supposed to go for safety. Or you may find that like 8.5 million others, you’re within the 50-mile zone the U.S. government advised Americans in Japan to evacuate from after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
The mapping site complements a new social media campaign from Friends of the Earth, featuring an online ad that raises the question of freeway gridlock if people near the plant were ordered to evacuate.
Last year, a Friends of the Earth poll of residents within the Edison service area found that more than 50 percent did not know whether they were in the evacuation zone for a serious accident at San Onofre. Almost three-fourths of those surveyed said they were concerned about another accident.
“On the anniversary of the radiation leak — which independent nuclear engineers and NRC technical staff have said could have been much worse — it’s important for Southern Californians to stop and think about what they would do if the NRC allows an experimental restart of a severely damaged reactor and as a result there’s a more serious accident,” said Kendra Ulrich, nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “There’s only one sure way to ensure the safety of the public — keep the crippled San Onofre reactors shut down.”
Kendra Ulrich, (202) 222-0715
Bill Walker, (510) 759-9911