Supervisor Jim Desmond
The importance of removing spent nuclear fuel cannot be overstated. The safe and responsible management of this hazardous material is paramount for protecting public health, the environment, and future generations. Spent nuclear fuel is safely being stored at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), but that is not a permanent solution.
Over the past four and a half years, I have served as the County of San Diego representative on the SONGS Community Engagement Panel. This quarterly meeting has been instrumental in informing the public about the dismantlement process of the generating station and the onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel.
Recognizing the importance of finding a long-term solution, I was appointed co-chair of the Spent Fuel Solutions (SFS) working group two years ago. The SFS comprises stakeholders, including local governments, elected officials, utilities, environmental groups, labor leaders, Native American leaders and business organizations, all committed to relocating spent nuclear fuel to a federally licensed facility away from our coastline.
The ultimate goal of SFS is to advocate for off-site storage and permanent disposal options for spent nuclear fuel at SONGS and other nuclear sites throughout the state and country. I'm happy to report that we have made significant progress.
Last Friday, my office met with the United States Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, who announced $26 million in community engagement funding to find a consolidated interim storage (CIS) facility for spent nuclear fuel. Consent-based siting was emphasized, drawing inspiration from successful models in other countries. Progress has been made with updates to the Department of Energy's siting process, aiming to secure CIS sites within 10 to 15 years.
Taxpayers have already paid over $9 billion for onsite storage and continue to pay approximately $2 million daily. That is why we need help from our communities and constituents. We need everyone who wants to see the spent fuel removed from SONGS to make their voices heard at the local, state, and federal levels.
Ultimately, removing spent nuclear fuel is a matter of addressing immediate concerns and a moral obligation to safeguard the well-being of our communities and the environment. It is an investment in the future, ensuring we leave behind a cleaner, safer, and more sustainable world for generations.