From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Subject: Airplane crashes 3 miles from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
December 26th, 2001

To The Editor:

Here's an example of why we need permanent "no-fly zones" around our nuclear power plants:

Yesterday, Christmas day, a Cessna 172, believed to have three people on board, crashed into the ocean just three miles south of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and half a mile from shore.  At least one person died and another is in serious condition at a local hospital.  A third person is believed to be missing.  At this time, the cause of the crash is unknown.

There are numerous critical parts of San Onofre which are located outside the containment domes, such as the emergency backup generators and the spent fuel pools. Most of the radioactive material at the facility is in the spent fuel pools, NOT under the dome.

The plane had just taken off from McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, California, a few miles away, so it would have been nearly full of fuel [Note: The next day, it was reported that the plane was returning to Hawthorne Airport where it was rented, and the pilot apparently had not refueled, so the plane had about half its available fuel load. -- rdh].  Many larger airplanes fly the exact same route heading north to the Los Angeles area; McClellan-Palomar Airport is the most active single-runway general aviation airport in the nation.

What are we waiting to have happen before we decide to close these deadly nuclear power plants?  Will only a full-scale accident, with tens of thousands of deaths (or more) wake us up?

Open or closed, nuclear power plants should have permanent "no-fly zones" around them so that accidents are less likely, and terrorists give their intentions away a few minutes before they hit the plant.

This might give us enough time to kiss our collective asses goodbye.  I suppose it's not much, but it's better than nothing.


Russell Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA