Reps. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) and Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would make the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California one of the highest priority sites in the United States for the removal of spent nuclear fuel. The bill is being cosponsored by Reps. Scott Peters (D., Calif.), Michelle Steel (R., Calif.), Katie Porter (D., Calif.), and Young Kim (R., Calif.).
The Spent Fuel Prioritization Act would amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to require the Department of Energy to prioritize spent fuel removal from decommissioned reactors based on the size of the population near the plant, the seismic hazard associated with the area, and any national security concerns. The bill does not call for a permanent repository or consolidated interim storage, nor does it authorize the transfer of spent fuel to any non-consenting state or locality.
In reintroducing the bill (H.R. 6685) on February 9, Levin and Issa noted that more than 9 million people live within 50 miles of San Onofre, in one of the greatest seismic hazard areas in the country. The lawmakers also pointed out that the plant’s location on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton make it a national security concern.
San Onofre-2 and -3 were retired in 2013 (San Onofre-1 was closed in 1992), and the plant is currently being decommissioned. Levin first introduced the Spent Fuel Prioritization Act in May 2019.
Quotes: “Federal action on spent fuel storage at the now-closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is long overdue, and disposal of power plant waste continues to be needlessly delayed by a process that lacks a commitment to a workable solution,” Issa said. “That’s why our bipartisan legislation should serve as a model in Congress and demonstrate that consensus is possible.”
“With its location on the Marine Corps’ largest West Coast base, millions of people living in the area, earthquake fault lines running through the region, and rising sea levels threatening San Onofre, it is imperative that we move the waste from our community as quickly and safely as possible,” Levin said. “We’ve made incredible progress in the last several years to advance the consent-based siting process at the Department of Energy. Now it’s time to pass this legislation and make the commonsense decision to prioritize particularly sensitive sites like San Onofre for the removal of spent nuclear fuel.”