By Eric Heinz

On Tuesday, Jan. 30, Southern California Edison (SCE) spokesperson Maureen Brown sent an email to the San Clemente Times reporting that the first spent nuclear fuel rods, currently housed in cooling tanks at the offline San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), have been transferred to dry-cask storage. The operators of the nuclear power plant will store a total of 73 casks with the radioactive fuel rods, in addition to the 51 already onsite.

“Following up to let you know that we safely and successfully loaded the first multi-purpose spent fuel canister at San Onofre, and we transferred that canister to the new ISFSI today (Jan. 30),” the email stated. “We are on track to complete the transfer of all the spent fuel to dry cask storage by mid-2019 or earlier. As you may recall, we previously loaded and transferred 50 canisters of spent fuel to the existing dry cask storage facility. Transferring spent fuel from wet to dry cask storage is a well-understood process that has been repeated hundreds of times at nuclear plants across the country over the last three decades. More background on our website.

The storage containers, constructed by Holtec International, are stainless steel, five-eighths of an inch thick and were approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and permitted by the California Coastal Commission in 2015.

Opponents of the storage on-site at SONGS, which is located next to the Pacific Ocean, have voiced concerns for years over the move.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is the lead agency on where the fuel can be stored. The spent fuel rods can only be stored where the DOE sees fit. Temporary storage of the spent fuel rods has been debated at the federal level, with several bills failing to be passed, to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to allow for such confinement. As of now, temporary storage is not permissible by law.

A permanent facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada was slated to harbor the spent fuel rods, but that plan was nixed following the closure of the storage facility

In other news

On the same day, SCE and several energy watchdog organization settled a lawsuit based on the cost of decommissioning the nuclear power plant, which went offline in 2012. The settlement removes the requirement for ratepayers to San Diego Gas & Electric, which owns stock in SONGS, paying the cost of the project. According to a press release from SCE:

  • Customers of SCE and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. will no longer pay for $775 million in San Onofre-related investments that had not yet been recovered by the utilities under a 2014 settlement. SCE customers’ portion of that total reduction is worth roughly $68 per residential customer over the next four years.
  • Because the agreement awaits approval by the commission, any amounts collected by the utilities in excess of the $775 million while the proposed settlement is pending will be refunded to customers.
  • In addition, the plaintiffs in a federal court lawsuit challenging the commission’s approval of the 2014 settlement have agreed to dismiss that case in its entirety following commission approval of the revised settlement announced today.
  • SCE will reimburse SDG&E for SDG&E’s $151 million share of the $775 million. This provision will not reduce the revised settlement benefits SCE customers receive.

“SCE and plant co-owner, SDG&E, have already returned more than $2 billion to customers under the 2014 settlement, which ensured that customers did not pay for the faulty steam generators, which prompted the closure of San Onofre, from the time this equipment failed,” a press release stated.

The California Public Utilities Commission will make the final determination as to whether to accept the proposed settlement.





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comments (3)

  • I giant nuclear scam;; Michael Peevey. Michael Aguirre;; partners in crime;; WOW why should rate payers pay one cent , I do all the dirty work and expose and leak all this, then AGUIRRE,, jumps on my back, and joins the NUCLEAR ENERGY CRIME SYNDICATE TEAM, and settles. ;; I DO ALL THE WORK I GET AML LEUKEMIA AND A BILL FOR 1.8 MILLION Aguirre CRIES THE d.o.e won’t come to so Cal FOR THE CONSENT BASE HEARINGS, THEN THEY SHOW UP he is the no show, I GET CANCER HE GET$5 MILLION $ Hot Watergate scam from hell .. kevin d. blanch Phd THE GREAT PACIFIC GENOCIDE AML LEUKEMIA fighter,

  • Mike Aguirre let all of southern California down. While he walks with 5 and a half million, ratepayers are still stuck for the most of the bill for Edison’s own screw-up and incompetence. Not to mention the radiological leak that hit San Clemente in 2012. This is just wrong.
    Peter Stoup

  • Because of the inferior storage technology SCE selected, they have no way to inspect for cracks or prevent cracks or to prevent major radioactive releases into our environment. Only promises of future solutions. Yet the are allowed to continue to use and procure these inferior canisters that hold a Chernobyl disaster in each can.

    These Chernobyl cans started loading in 2003. The Koeberg nuclear plant had a comparable container leak in only 17 years. The NRC provided this information and also that once a crack starts it can grow through the canister wall in about 16 years. A 2-year old Diablo Canyon canister was determined to have all the conditions for cracking, but cannot be inspected.

    The NRC, SCE, PG&E are all ignoring their own information, because it will cost the utilities money to use safer thick-wall casks (10″ to 19.75″ thick) used in most of the rest of the world. And what’s even worse is they have no plan to stop the leaks or explosions from these cans, only unsubstantiated propaganda promises. I only found out about this from participating in NRC technical meetings, where employees are allowed to speak the truth.

    NRC management is covering for the nuclear industry and does not even share these facts with their own Commissioners. They give them and others misleading assurances rather than facts. Go to for details and source documents. Then share this information.

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