There's an interesting story on NBC San Diego's website about a wrongful-termination lawsuit that has apparently just been filed against Southern California Edison (SCE), the company that owns and operates the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). The suit was filed by Paul Diaz, a plant manger who claims he was fired after complaining to federal inspectors about unsafe working conditions at the plant.
Diaz tells NBC that when workers approached him about their complaints and said that management wasn't listening to them, he had no choice but to intervene. The company, he says, warned him not to get involved, saying, "They don't need you to be a super-hero." According to NBC, neither Diaz nor his lawyers would comment on the specifics of the workplace issues involved, except to say they included "long hours on the job, worker fatigue and management's refusal to act on those concerns."
Long hours? Worker fatigue? Bosses who don't give a shit?
Just add a dash of radioactivity, leave the pot boiling, and you've got a recipe for a nuclear meltdown!
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Not so, says Gil Alexander, an SCE spokesperson. "Whatever you think the standards of safety are at your local car dealer or your local high school, they're 100 or 1,000 times higher at a nuclear plant," he said.
Wow, that's pretty reassuring.
So San Onofre is safer than a car dealership. I assume "safety" in that context doesn't involve safety from being ripped off. Let's hope not. And high school? Nothing bad ever happens there, I'm sure.
In any case, as NBC points out, the San Onofre plant has been cited numerous times by federal regulators for violating the plant's own standards for safety and workplace conditions. In 2006, for example, the plant leaked highly radioactive tritium into the local groundwater. The plant was also listed as the second most inherently dangerous nuclear facility in the United States.