Owners consider off-site storage of San Onofre nuclear waste

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — In a shift from earlier plans, the owners of the defunct San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station announced Friday they are open to moving radioactive waste away from the site, instead of burying it along the coast.

The announcement comes along with a court request — filed by attorneys for Southern California Edison, the plant’s majority owner — to delay a hearing set for next week, so a settlement agreement could be discussed with the environmental group suing them. 

Related Link: Lawmakers propose alternate plan for nuclear waste plan at San Onofre

"We believe the parties in the case and many community leaders share a common goal to transfer San Onofre’s used nuclear fuel off-site as soon as reasonably possible," said Tom Palmisano, SCE vice president and chief nuclear officer. "We are hopeful that settlement discussions will permit the parties to reach a mutually agreeable solution."

This is a huge advancement for Citizens Oversight, the environmental group that sued Edison and the state’s Coastal Commission in November 2015 over the plan to store nuclear waste at the shoreline. A hearing in the case had been set for next Friday.

Related Link: Judge to hear lawsuit against burying nuclear waste at San Onofre beach

Michael Aguirre, an attorney for Citizens Oversight, said, "People of good will must come together and work to find a solution that is in the best interests of the people of the state of California."

According to Edison, one-third of San Onofre’s used fuel is in dry cask storage and the remaining two-thirds is stored in steel-lined concrete pools. Edison is proposing to move the fuel from the pools into dry storage by 2019, where it would remain until an off-site storage facility becomes available.

Related Link: Congresswoman says burying San Onofre waste at beach ignores safety of people and environment

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating State has not operated since January 2012, when a small, non-injury leak occurred. SCE later decided to retire the two reactors rather than follow a costly start-up procedure.

Categories: Local San Diego News