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Opinion Editorials San Onofre nuclear waste storage plan better alternative than inaction, barely via The San Diego Union-Tribune

A recent out-of-court settlement in which Edison committed to “commercially reasonable” efforts to move more than 3.5 million pounds of nuclear waste generated by the now-shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station beats the alternative of inaction, barely. Under the settlement with the Citizens’ Oversight group, Edison will upgrade inspection and maintenance of canisters containing the nuclear waste and spend $4 million to hire experts to find a site and map out a potential move. Edison, the principal owner of San Onofre, vowed to pursue specific sites, including one in Texas that stores low-level radioactive waste now and one in New Mexico that appears to have local support. A crucial detail is San Diego County Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes can step in to enforce the settlement.

In the meantime, some of the nuclear waste will continue to be stored at San Onofre in 50 canisters in “dry storage,” protected by a 27-foot seawall. The rest of the spent fuel, which is now cooling in a deep container of water, will in time be moved from “wet storage” to 73 casks, also at San Onofre.

This deal was instantly derided by critics who consider it crazy to store so much waste so close to the Pacific Ocean, where earthquakes and tsunamis could cause a Fukushima-style disaster.

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