By Eric Heinz

Updated 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 4: Click here to real the final draft of the letter to Coastal Commission 

City Council on Tuesday, May 2, voted to amend certain sections of a letter members intend to send to the California Coastal Commission regarding the city’s opposition to storing spent nuclear fuel at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

The Council directed the city clerk to amend the language of the letter, and it will be approved for submittal by Council members Lori Donchak and Mayor Pro Tem Tim Brown.

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The letter requests the Coastal Commission recognize San Clemente as an unwilling participant in this storage and to require monitoring of the fuel, which is expected to be buried in dry cask containers. It also demands the Commission to support federal efforts to move the fuel to another location and to require emergency services be continued at the facility.

The Council voted to add that if these requests could not be met, the Commission should revoke the permit it granted Southern California Edison, the majority stockholder of SONGS, to store the fuel.

Citizens Oversight, the activist group that sued the Coastal Commission over its permitting of storing spent nuclear fuel, hosted a protest in front of City Hall prior to the meeting.

Community Engagement Panel Meeting is May 11

The Community Engagement Panel, an informational group comprised of local representatives, will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, at the Laguna Hills Community Center, located at 25555 Alicia Parkway in Laguna Hills.

The meeting will discuss developments of off-site waste storage sites in New Mexico and Texas, and two Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials will review the federal oversight of decommissioning SONGS.

Public comment takes place in the last hour of the meeting.

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comments (1)

  • This article does not represent the situation accurately, which is understandable with such a complex topic. No one is saying that nuclear waste should not be stored at San Onofre. The fact is that nuclear waste must stay where it is for years to come because it takes time before dry casks can be transported. We are saying that burying it 100 feet from the ocean, inches above the water table, with rising sea levels, in a tsunami zone riddled with faults which exceed the design basis for SONGS is unacceptable. Simply put, the letter should say, REVOKE THE PERMIT, CONTINUE UNLOADING POOLS USING THE ORIGINAL SYSTEM IF SAFER TO DO SO, AND START LOOKING FOR THE NEXT BEST PLACE TO STORE THE WASTE NOW.
    Councilman Tim Brown said “all that would do (revoking the permit) is keep the radioactive waste in wet storage at San Onofre, which is not as safe as in dry casks.”
    THIS IS NOT ACCURATE. Revoking the permit would only limit them to using the original horizontal storage system, like the 51 containers already in use, IF storage in the pools is determined to be less safe. If it is truly less safe in the pools, then why has Edison not been putting it in dry cask storage as soon as it was cool enough to do so? Much of the waste could have been removed from pools years ago. The original dry canisters are already approved, and 30 of them are still on site and paid for.
    The OC Register stated that one of the revisions will be … “Edison must be required to complete an “aging management plan” for the dry casks, together with a comprehensive monitoring program, prior to demolition of the power plant’s spent fuel pool.” This is not what I heard at the meeting and if they had read the final rough draft before closing the topic, we would have been outraged. This is hopefully an inaccurate representation of the council’s letter.
    The AMP should be required as part of the approval for the permit from the start. Spent fuel pools are required for fixing any problems with dry cask storage that may need to be reloaded. Therefore the pools must be here until the last dry cask is shipped off. Tying these things together means that the Aging Management Plan, which requires them to be MONITORED, REPAIRABLE and TRANSPORTABLE will not be required DURING THE ENTIRE TIME THAT NUCLEAR WASTE IS ON SITE.
    The OC Register also reported that the letter will say…”The burial site close to the ocean is the worst possible scenario, next to key transportation corridors and dense populations”. “which is lacking the logical concluding remark … AND THEREFORE THE PERMIT NEEDS TO BE REVOKED.

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