San Diego County is considering an agreement with energy utility Southern California Edison (SCE) to provide $1.6 million in emergency planning funding for San Onofre's nuclear waste.
San Onofre’s generators have been offline now for two years, but the uranium left behind, which will be poisonous to humans for the next 173 million years, will be permanently stored in high-tech stainless steel drums designed to last for 25 years.
In a report on the issue, "Report of Malfeasance and Institutional Corruption at the California Public Utilities Commission," one attorney detailed disasters involving public utilities, disasters that should inform the decision on a local nuclear emergency.
“Imagine what will happen if San Diego were the sight of a major nuclear disaster and that you'll have to have the kind of relocation, the kind of loss of life that you see in Fukushima,” said attorney Mike Aguirre.
He said the stored nuclear waste at San Onofre by its owner, SCE, is a disaster waiting to happen.
“Edison is implanting 3,000,600 pounds of high level nuclear waste in North San Diego coast line,” Aguirre said.
On Tuesday, the board will vote to accept $1.6 million from SCE to cover the costs of emergency services operations through 2019.
For Aguirre, it is the only chance he sees to discuss what should be done with the stored nuclear waste.
But Supervisor Bill Horn said Aguirre is wrong and is trying to scare people.
“As far as there being a danger at the plant right now, I don't think there is one,” Horn said. “Mr. Aguirre would like to write fiction, I guess.”
Horn told NBC 7 he agrees the waste should be moved, but there is only so much the county can do.
“I'd like to get the fuel moved, if I could get it moved,” Horn said. “But at the same time, that's up to the federal government to make it happen.”
Aguirre said he is asking the federal government to set up a committee to find a place to store nuclear waste.
“What we're asking for is the Board of Supervisors to call upon the governor and the Public Utilities Commission to set up a committee to find out where we're going to store nuclear waste,” Aguirre said.
Ratepayers have disproportionately wound up on the hook for the failure of the San Onofre nuclear plant on San Diego County’s northern coastline.
The debate over whether Southern Californians got their fair share in the decommissioning bailout won't die down.
Under investigation by federal prosecutors and other agencies are CPUC proceedings and negotiations that led to shareholders dodging 70 percent of the $4.7 billion in shutdown costs.
SoCal Edison executives deny any wrongdoing in the drawn-out procedures involving them and the commission.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story said the report came from the board of supervisors. It was from attorney Mike Aguirre. We regret the error.