By Eric Heinz
At least six pieces of federal legislation are being considered this year in Congress, as representatives and locals continue to find ways to store the spent nuclear fuel at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).
City Council voted to direct its staff to identify lobbyists who are experts in energy legislation as well as reach out to neighboring cities to consider a bill that could give local entities millions of dollars for being involuntary participants in temporary storage. The payments could be related to enhancing safety for residents in proximity to the site.
There are also bills from Sen. Kamala Harris and a few other representatives and another bill that is essentially the same as other pieces of legislation from Rep. Darrell Issa and others that would open the opportunity for interim storage of the spent nuclear fuel until the federal government can find something to do with it permanently. Federal laws currently do not allow for temporary storage of such fuel.
Ray Lutz, executive director of the advocacy group Citizens’ Oversight Projects, said he would like to see amendments to the bill asking for funding in lieu of storing the fuel. As it reads, the bill is pretty open-ended and states that the money would go to jurisdictions of where the nuclear facility is located. If that’s the case, only San Diego County would be entitled to such funds.
Links to bills currently in Congress related to spent nuclear fuel storage