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Orange County reps push for bill to spur San Onofre spent fuel removal


Last updated 4/17/2019 at 12:45pm

SAN CLEMENTE - Rep. Mike Levin said on Tuesday, April 16 he would introduce a bill aimed at reducing the time it will take to remove spent fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

At a tour of the power plant with Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Newport Beach, Tuesday the two congressmen were told by Southern California Edison officials that the spent fuel at the now-shuttered plant might not be removed until 2050.

"I think with alot of heavy lifting and including our priority bill, along with development of an interim storage facility,'' the job could be done by 2035, said Levin, D-Dana Point.

"If we could get an interim storage site selected and permitted and built by 2028, and in parallel set up transportation, which would require multiple states to move the canisters, that by 2035 we wouldn't be starting the work we might have it completed,'' Levin said.

Levin's bill would establish three factors for prioritizing removal of spent fuel from nuclear power plants. Plants that are decommissioned or in the process of being shut down would receive priority, and federal authorities would also consider the population around the plant and whether there is an environmental risk such as earthquakes.

"When you think about San Onofre there is a population of 8.3 million within 50 miles and there are two active earthquake faults,'' Levin said. "It is the only site in the country with that degree of risk from both population density and earthquakes.''

The push to move the spent fuel comes after an incident in August in which a 45-ton canister filled with spent nuclear fuel became lodged in a storage cavity as it was being moved from a wet storage pool to a dry cask storage facility on site.

All future transfers of spent fuel were suspended while the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed the incident.


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