San Diego

Southern California Edison Considering Deal to Remove Nuclear Waste from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

With a San Diego court hearing looming, the majority owners of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), Southern California Edison (SCE), announced they would consider moving radioactive materials from the site of the closed plant.

SCE had been in talks with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Citizens Oversight, represented by attorneys Michael Aguirre and Maria Severson. The Office of the Attorney General of California, representing the California Coastal Commission which was named in the lawsuit, also was part of a court filing to request a continuance of the April 14th court date so “they may pursue settlement,” said the press release from the utility.

The chief nuclear officer and SCE vice president Tom Palmisano is quoted in the release as saying there was a common goal to move the “used nuclear fuel off-site as soon as reasonably possible.”

Attorney Aguirre said in the same release that everyone involved “must come together and work to find a solution in the best interests of the people.”

It wasn’t clear from the release if this offer of settlement would include removing all radioactive materials from the site, which includes the 3,600,000 pounds of spent fuel now submerged in water pools on the property as well as the 50 canisters of leftover radioactive fuel now buried on the property in what is called dry cask storage.

Read the full press release here.

“It is the most dangerous stuff on earth; a witches brew of radioactive material,” a critic of the plan to bury the materials on a sea bluff above San Onofre Beach told NBC 7.

Aguirre said in a recent response to filings by SCE when the Coastal Commission approved the placement of the radioactive material on the property that “the findings are not supported by the evidence.” He claims the Commission was working with SCE to “build a record to support SCE’s proposal to bury the waste at San Onofre,” long before public hearings were held.

The contention is the Coastal Commission approved the nuclear dump site assuming the storage facility would be in good physical condition for 35 years. However, as pointed out in the court filings, the storage certification is only good for 20 years, creating a 15-year safety gap. In the same March 21 filing, the Coastal Commission admitted “the shoreline protection structures cannot be counted upon to prevent erosion and flooding at the site in future generations.”

San Diego Gas and Electric is a minority owner of SONGS.

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