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San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Photo: File by Eric Heinz

By Eric Heinz

California’s State Senate approved a resolution Thursday to urge the federal government to pass a bill that would allow the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct temporary interim storage of spent nuclear fuel at facilities away from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a few miles south of San Clemente. The resolution was authored by Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel.

“It’s way past time for the federal government to move the nuclear waste stored at San Onofre to a location away from densely populated and environmentally sensitive areas,” Bates stated in a press release. “I’m pleased that my State Senate colleagues have endorsed my call to Washington D.C. to approve pending legislation that would help make Orange and San Diego County residents safer. I applaud Congressman Darrell Issa’s steadfast leadership on finding a consensus that is fair to all Americans.”

The Senate Joint Resolution presses the federal government pass the Interim Consolidated Storage Act of 2016, supported by Issa, R-Vista. Language in the bill deems the areas that would take the nuclear waste must have consent from the facility accepting it as well as the neighboring communities. Areas in Texas and New Mexico have been mentioned as possible storage sites.

The press release from Bates stated the nuclear waste stored at the current facility is on or near earthquake faults.

A proposal to permanently store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada fell through in 2009, and Southern California Edison, the majority stock holder of the now-defunct power plant, obtained a permit last fall from the California Coastal Commission to store the spent nuclear fuel on-site.

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