- Southern California Edison (SCE), the majority owner of the San Onofre nuclear facility, and Citizens Oversight Inc. have reached a settlement regarding the storage of spent fuel, leading to the dismissal of a lawsuit.
- The settlement agreement lays out the steps SCE will take in support of efforts to move the spent fuel to an off-site location. A third of San Onofre’s used fuel is currently in dry cask storage and the remaining two-thirds is stored in steel-lined concrete pools.
- In 2015, the state approved expansion of interim dry cask storage for spent fuel at the plant, but Citizens Oversight intervened with a lawsuit to block the plan. Possible locations include the Palo Verde Nuclear plant in Arizona, but Arizona Public Service Co. said it will not take San Onofre's waste.
Both consumer advocates and SCE want to move the nuclear spent fuel to an off-site location in order to close down the plant. And now it looks like the two sides have reached a broad agreement on how to approach that goal.
“A cooperative effort between the public, independent experts and Southern California Edison has begun and will continue until the nuclear waste is removed from San Diego,” Michael Aguirre, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
Plaintiffs have requested the lawsuit be dismissed and provided a summary of the settlement. It allows for SCE to complete the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation and to transfer all spent fuel to dry storage pending
the availability of an offsite storage facility.
Possible locations include the Palo Verde nuclear facility in Arizona, but its operator Arizona Public Service Co. said on no uncertain terms would it allow the waste be stored at that site, according to the Arizona Republic. Storing the waste requires approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which the utility says it will not seek.
"We are not licensed to store used fuel from any other facility, and there is no initiative that makes sense to start the licensing process," APS spokesman Jim McDonald told the news outlet.
The lawsuit was filed in November 2015 after the California Coastal Commission granted SCE’s permit to expand on-site storage of used nuclear fuel at San Onofre. SCE closed the plant after radioactive steam leaks were discovered in 2012. In order to decommission of the plant, the utility plans to move the fuel from the pools into dry storage by 2019, where it would remain until an off-site storage facility is available.