Levin and Issa reintroduce bill to remove spent fuel from San Onofre site

February 16, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions



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.

Decommissioning San Onofre

November 5, 2021, 3:37PMNuclear NewsJohn Dobken

Imagine it’s January 1998. A specially equipped train from the Department of Energy rolls up to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to pick up spent nuclear fuel and take it to the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada. This scene is repeated thousands of times at nuclear plant sites across the U.S. over the ensuing decades. The solution to permanent spent fuel disposal as outlined in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (and its amendments) is working as intended. The nation’s commercial spent fuel is safely isolated deep underground for the long term.

But that is not what happened. Work on Yucca Mountain has been stalled for a full decade, and the organization within the DOE that by law is responsible for managing the spent fuel program has been defunded and disbanded.

Dangerous San Onofre dismantling job completed safely

September 7, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A graphic representation of the tendons encircling the San Onofre containment domes. (Image: SCE)

A nearly yearlong effort to de-tension and remove more than 400 steel cables, known as tendons, from the two containment domes of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) was recently completed, with only one minor first aid incident recorded, according to Southern California Edison.

The consequences of closure: The local cost of shutting down a nuclear power plant

May 7, 2021, 3:01PMNuclear NewsTim Gregoire

When on May 7, 2013, the Kewaunee nuclear power plant in rural Wisconsin was shut down, it took with it more than 600 full-time jobs and more than $70 million in lost wages, not including temporary employment from refueling and maintenance outages. Taking into account indirect business-to-business activity, the total economic impact of the closure of the single-unit pressurized water reactor was estimated to be more than $630 million to the surrounding three-county area.

Southern California Edison pushes to get SONGS’s spent fuel moved off-site

March 16, 2021, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

Southern California Edison has released a three-volume set of plans supporting the off-site relocation of the spent nuclear fuel currently stored at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. According to SCE, the release of the Action Plan, the Strategic Plan, and the Conceptual Transportation Plan constitutes a significant milestone in a process that began with the 2017 settlement regarding the coastal development permit issued for San Onofre’s expanded spent fuel storage installation.

At the same time, in an effort to urge the federal government to find a permanent solution to the nation’s inventory of commercial spent fuel, SCE and the counties of Orange and San Diego announced on March 15 the formation of a stakeholder coalition, Action for Spent Fuel Solutions Now.

“SCE and our partners and stakeholders have a genuine opportunity to bring people together with a shared interest to prepare and advocate for the relocation of the spent fuel away from the coast,” said Kevin Payne, SCE’s president and chief executive officer. “It is clear that to make tangible progress on this issue, the federal government must act. Rather than wait for this to happen, we are going to be a catalyst for change.”

Information about the coalition, including how to join, is available on its website.

LA Times asks, “How safe is the water off SONGS?”

December 3, 2020, 6:46AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A California surfer. Photo: Brocken Inaglory/Wikicommons

The Los Angeles Times published an article on December 1 about a recent collaboration between the Surfrider Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to determine how safe the water is off the coast of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

The Road to Utah

September 28, 2020, 9:11AMRadwaste Solutions

Six large trucks were used to push and pull the SONGS-1 reactor pressure vessel 400 miles through Nevada and into Utah with a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour over a 10-day period. Photo: EnergySolutions

July 14 marked a milestone in the decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), as the Unit 1 reactor pressure vessel (RPV) completed a seven-week journey from Southern California to EnergySolutions’ Clive disposal facility in Utah. The approximately 670-ton RPV package, containing the pressure vessel from the previously decommissioned SONGS-1, pieces of radioactive metal, and grout for radiation shielding, left San Onofre on May 24, traveling by rail to a location outside Las Vegas, where it was transferred to a platform trailer to be transported the remaining 400 miles to Clive, about 75 miles west of Salt Lake City.

“This project was a very complex undertaking that required approvals and/or coordination with over two dozen federal, state, and local agencies and government entities,” said Todd Eiler, director of the EnergySolutions Projects Group, which handled the transport. “The coordinated effort with the rail lines and departments of transportation in California, Nevada, and Utah resulted in another safe and successful large component shipment managed by the EnergySolutions Projects Group.”

House bill would create spent fuel R&D program at the DOE

September 25, 2020, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 1, 2 and 3. Photo: SoCal Edison

A bill introduced on September 21 by Rep. Mark Levine (D., Calif.) would direct the Department of Energy to conduct an advanced fuel cycle research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program. According to Levine, whose district includes the closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), the Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Research and Development Act (H.R. 8258) is intended to foster innovation in the storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel.

The program, which would be authorized at over $500 million over five years, would have the DOE investigate a variety of options for managing the storage, use, and disposal of spent fuel, including dry cask storage, consolidated interim storage, deep geological storage and disposal, and vitrification.