Southern California

Coastal Commission Approves Storing Nuclear Waste at San Onofre

Residents and activists are protesting Southern California Edison's proposal to store nuclear waste on the Pacific Coast

The California Coastal Commission met Tuesday in Long Beach and voted to allow the storage of nuclear waste at the now-inoperative San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in San Diego County.

In December 2014, Southern California Edison proposed the construction of an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI), a dry underground storage facility for San Onofre's used nuclear waste, sparking protest from activists and residents.

The nuclear waste will stay there for 20 years until a more permanent solution can be found.

Anti-nuclear activists at Tuesday's meeting wanted the waste permanently moved to the desert, away from populated areas. They said there are concerns that the storage at San Onofre will turn into a permanent situation.

"They have not attempted to do anything except the path of least resistance, which results in nuclear waste being stored right on the coast in an area where no one would choose to put it," said Ray Lutz, coordinator at Citizens' Oversight Projects. "Construction of the ISFSI at this location will likely mean it will stay right here for hundreds of years."

According to the Decommissioning San Onofre report, Edison has selected Holtec International to design and build the ISFSI. Nuclear waste will be stored in stainless steel modules in a concrete-filled monolith. Approximately one-third of the waste is already in storage, and Holtec plants to transfer the rest of the waste by mid-2019.

In April, Southern California taxpayers were left with paying $3.3 billion for SONGS' closure in 2013 that followed radiation leak damage to hundreds of the plant's tubes. State energy regulators came under fire for secretly negotiating that settlement in a foreign country.

The California Coastal Commission plans and regulates land and water use and public access in California's coastline.

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