Opinion » Letters

A warning from Houston


A Natural Resources Defense Council simulation of a severe accident at Diablo Canyon shows a southbound radioactive plume extending from Avila to Santa Barbara, illustrating that evacuation via Highway 101 south isn't realistic.

In 2013, a U.S. Government Accountability Office Congressional report raised concerns that unauthorized "shadow" evacuations would impede those under evacuation orders. Many told to "shelter-in-place" would resist complying, unaware that the rate of air exchange in a closed, moving car greatly exceeds that in a closed house, increasing the risk of inhaling radioactive particles.

An official at our county's Office of Emergency Services conceded that evacuations planned for our highways aren't workable. Nonetheless, "sheltering-in-place" training isn't being offered to help residents lower risks during acute emergencies, such as a release of toxic chemicals from derailed tankers or a radioactive cloud from Diablo Canyon.

My public statements in 2016 to the SLO City Council and County Board of Supervisors and the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee have been met with chilly silence. Resistance to more realistic emergency planning subjects county residents to even greater hazards now that Diablo Canyon is preparing to shut down—a risky stage, as other U.S. nuclear plants being decommissioned have saved funds by deferring replacement of failing components.

Milt Carrigan

San Luis Obispo

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