Less-stringent plan for San Onofre’s nuclear waste approved via The Orange County Register

A year ago, San Onofre’s operators argued that with the nuclear power plant shut down, and with nuclear fuel no longer in the reactors, its emergency plan should be less stringent.

On Thursday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued exemptions for the plant’s emergency plan, approving the less-stringent strategy.

Spent nuclear fuel remains on-site at San Onofre – 2,668 assemblies in spent-fuel pools and 1,200 in dry storage, according to Southern California Edison, the plant’s majority owner. Edison plans to bury the fuel in underground concrete until the federal government figures out what to do with it.


Edison says most potential accidents are no longer possible.

“Because San Onofre is shut down, federal regulators have concluded, as they did for closed nuclear plants in Wisconsin and Florida, that it is extremely unlikely that an issue could arise that would impact public safety,” said Edison spokeswoman Maureen Brown.

Activists criticized the less-stringent plan Thursday.

“Edison and the NRC would like the public to believe that since the reactors have been shut down, everything is much safer,” said Rita Conn, chairwoman for the group Let Laguna Vote. “But the truth is as long as there are 1,632 tons of high-level, extremely radioactive spent fuel in the middle of more than 10 million people, danger exists.”

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