Edward “Ted” Quinn, Dana Point
During the last four years that I have volunteered to serve on the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel (CEP), I have learned that most people in the surrounding communities agree on the importance of moving the used nuclear fuel offsite. I also have learned that there is quite a bit of inflammatory misinformation that clouds the issue. Let me offer some well-established facts, based on my 40 years of work in the safety of naval and commercial nuclear facilities.
U.S. nuclear power plants have been safely storing used nuclear fuel for more than three decades. This excellent safety record includes the San Onofre nuclear plant, which stores its used nuclear fuel using robust, proven technologies.
These important facts were missing from the San Clemente Times coverage of the Dec. 30 protest in San Clemente of used nuclear fuel storage at San Onofre.
I recognize the factual errors by critics at the protest because I have heard them time and again during my service on the CEP. The panel’s diverse group of serious-minded leaders has devoted the large majority of time to one topic—advocating for constructive, feasible solutions to get the fuel off site at the earliest opportunity.
San Onofre will store all of its fuel in licensed, stainless steel canisters encased in concrete, a process known as dry-cask storage that has been repeated hundreds of times in the U.S. Not only is this a proven technology, we know that placement canisters facilitate transfer to off-site storage because the fuel must be in a canister to be accepted by a storage facility.
Southern California Edison has shared and sought public input in the development of plans to move the fuel from deep pools of water to dry-cask storage by mid-2019. Preparations are underway to begin that transfer and progress reports are on the San Onofre website, www.songscommunity.com.
I encourage your readers to take advantage of well-established facts on that website before embracing the inflammatory rhetoric of critics. If we in the local communities can remain focused on the facts and focus on what’s important—getting the used fuel off site—we will do best to serve the interests of those who live, work and play in Southern California.
Editor’s note: Edward “Ted” Quinn is the American Nuclear Society, San Diego Chapter representative for the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel.