30 Year Timeline Possible for San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Cleanup

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Chairman of the Environment Subcommittee at House Energy and Commerce, toured the now-closed San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station Friday.

The seaside plant between Los Angeles and San Diego has been shut down since January 2012, after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of tubes that carry radioactive water.

The decommissioning was initially slated for early 2016. One year later many questions remain.

What is going to happen to the plant? How long will it take to be decommissioned? And what will be done with the nuclear waste on site?

They say they want answers to those questions “sooner rather than later.”

"I'm, very optimistic and I’m the nuclear guy,” said Shimkus. “This is what I do in Washington. So I have to keep moving forward and I look forward to having a very productive year in Washington on this issue.”

But Shimkus and Issa say the whole process will take a long time.

“I think we need to put our expectations appropriately, “ said Issa. “If there were a facility today, the first decommissioning of the old reactor could be moved."

"There isn’t a facility, and it will take until 2019 just to have all the materials in drycast prepared to potentially move.”

Issa estimated it may be 30 years before the site is fully available.

Issa said in the next few weeks there would be an artist rendering of the time line to restore this part of the coastline.

They’re hoping to have the domes removed in two to 10 years.

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