Settlement Reached Over San Onofre Nuke Waste

by on September 5, 2017 · 0 comments

in Energy, San Diego

Nuclear Shutdown News August 2017

By Michael Steinberg /Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and abroad, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our August 2017 report.

San Onofre Nuke Plant’s Solution to its Megatons of Radioactive Waste–Make it Someone Else’s Problem

On August 28 the San Diego Union-Tribune broke the story: “Court settlement looks to move nuclear waste from San Onofre”

The out of court “settlement was approved by Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes” on the 28th, the newspaper reported.

The lawsuit was filed subsequent to a 2015 California Coastal Commission issuing of a permit allowing San Onofre’s 3.55 million pounds of nuclear waste to be stored on site. The nuclear plant’s two remaining operational reactors shut down in January 2012 and never again produced electricity. A third rector closed permanently years before.

The plant’s primary owner. Southern California Edison, was planning to keep the highly toxic radioactive material in the bluffs above the iconic surfing spot, and/or under the beach only 100 feet from the sea, indefinitely. Surrounding communities and cities protested.

With the Pacific Ocean on San Onofre’s western side, heavily traveled Interstate 5 makes up its eastern one, with sprawling Camp Pendleton Marine base next to that. Over 8 million people live within a 50 mile radius.

The court settlement obligates Southern California Edison to lay out $4 million to finance the terms of the agreement, which includes choosing and convening a panel of experts to oversee the project and following a timeline to make it happen. The target date for the project is an ambitious five years barring any earthquakes, tsunamis, stray Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles or other potential catastrophic events.

Mike Aguirre, a former San Diego City Attorney, is one plaintiff who brought the lawsuit. He told the Union-Tribune,

“We’ve made the first step and have a mechanism in place to make sure that all the other steps happen. For the average San Diegan, before there was no hope. That sword of Damocles, the nuclear sword of Damocles,was hanging over their head indefinitely.”

The other plaintiff is San Diego County organization Citizen’s Oversight, whose Ray Lutz added,

“This is about the best we can do and I think it’s pretty good. It’s a step in the right direction and a step they (Edison) wouldn’t take if it weren’t for the lawsuit.”

Nevertheless, a number of significant questions still remain. Who wants to take this lethal load off Edison’s dirty hands, and where could it be moved to? Exactly how will it be moved? Down I5 and through downtown San Diego? Or on Southwest Airlines over the city’s high-rises?

The federal government was supposed to take care of this decades ago, but there still is no solution in sight. Yucca Mountain in Nevada was proposed as the Great White Hope, but was deemed unsuitable by all sane stakeholders and abandoned during the Obama years.

No nukes groups dubbed the transportation of nuke waste a Mobile Chernobyl, meaning an accident could in and of itself be catastrophic.

Then, as the Union-Tribune pointed out, the proposed project would have to involve multiple governmental agencies: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation (if there still is one), perhaps Homeland Security, and whoever else might want to get into the act.

And then, of course. there’s that Humpty Dumpty in the White House.

All this relates to the dilemma of nuclear plants as they are increasingly shutting down, while those still operating are constantly adding to the gigantic pile of nuclear garbage that has place to go.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune,

New Nuke Scheme in South Carolina Goes Belly Up With Billions Down the Drain

On August 4 the website arstecnica reported, “The cost overruns in making the Westinghouse AP 1000 (new type) reactors led to the Toshiba subsidiary’s bankruptcy.”

Arstecnica explained that this cast doubt on whether the highly touted “new nukes” plants, Sumner in South Carolina, and Vogtle in Georgia, would ever be completed.

“Last week,” arstexnica reported, “power company Santee Cooper and energy company SCANA announced they would walk away from Sumner after calculating the plant would cost an additional $11.4 billion to finish, which would bring the final bill to more than $25 billion.”

Source: arstecnic,


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