Exclusive tour of San Onofre Nucelar Power Plant
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It hasn’t produced electricity since it was shut down in 2012, after a Mitsubishi Steam generator malfunctioned, sending radiation into the environment. It hasn’t ‘buried’ any nuclear waste since August, when one of the canisters malfunctioned and the operation was shut down again. But now there’s hope. Later this month, San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant could get the green light to begin ‘temporary storage’ until they can find a ‘permanent home”.
“It’s to our benefit to get this out of here, there is no benefit to us and I mean sooner rather than later. There is no benefit whatsoever”, says Ron Pontes, Decommissioning manager at San Onofre Nuclear Plant.
Now that mistakes have been corrected and safety procedures have tightened up, San Onofre is waiting for the N.R.C. to give the go ahead. That could happen after a *Webinar* later this month.
“We feel like we’re ready, we’re ready to move fuel again now that all of these actions have been taken”, says Pontes.
Right now, tons of nuclear waste is either stored or waiting to be stored, inside steel canisters and buried in the ground about 300-feet from the Pacific Ocean. The canisters sit about five feet above the water table and they are welded shut. They are also surrounded by five feet of seamless concrete. “It’s virtually impossible for water to get in there to begin with”, says Pontes. He says this knowing that the area is surrounded by earthquake faults and a rising sea level. “Even if a Tsunami hit here, it would not get into the nuclear storage containers”.
But this is a ‘short term’ solution to a long term problem. Eventually, this stuff will be taken off the coast and stored elsewhere. “Yucca Mountain” in Nevada was the intended resting place. “But President Obama shut it down”. This, after taxpayers spent 15-billion dollars building it.