The judge hearing a civil complaint against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and owners of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has rejected a request for an immediate stop-work order at the plant.
Instead of granting a temporary restraining order, U.S. District Court Judge Janis L. Sammartino gave federal regulators, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and its parent company, Sempra Energy, until Sept. 20 to file responses to the lawsuit filed by Public Watchdogs.
The nonprofit, represented by former U.S. Attorney Charles La Bella, argued in its complaint that the work was not being performed safely and that 8 million or more people living within 50 miles of the shuttered nuclear plant could be in danger. The suit accuses the NRC of having a “hands-off” regulatory approach.
The NRC declined to comment on the lawsuit when it was filed. SDG&E referred questions to Edison.
An Edison spokesman has said the utility is committed to safe transfers of the spent fuel. He said the lawsuit by Public Watchdogs runs counter to the expressed interest of the communities adjacent to the San Onofre nuclear plant because the suit, if successful, could potentially strand the spent fuel on site.
Edison began decommissioning the plant following a small radiation leak in 2012. The utility wants to relocate 3.6 million pounds of radioactive waste so it can transfer most of the plant’s property back to the U.S. Navy.
Read more at Judge lays out schedule for San Onofre nuclear waste lawsuit