SAN ONOFRE, Calif. (KGTV) - On Tuesday, two Southern California congressmen toured the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, or SONGS. There was an announcement made to the press about new legislation, amid environmental and safety concerns at the facility.
Representative Harley Rouda (D-CA-48) told reporters, “We both recognize that we have an issue here.” He and Representative Mike Levin (D-CA-49) got a firsthand look at the controversial conditions inside SONGS. The two representatives serve districts that cover north coastal San Diego into Orange County, where SONGS is located.
“Today, I’m pleased to announce that when I return to Washington, I’ll be introducing new legislation to ensure the spent fuel here at SONGS receives top priority from the federal government for disposal,” said Rep. Levin. His newest effort will be called the Spent Fuel Prioritization bill.
To decommission the power plant, crews have been transferring spent nuclear fuel into square vaults on the beach until the government figures out what to do with them, next, which will likely involve transferring them to a remote, out-of-state location.
The congressmen are calling for more federal oversight after safety concerns were raised about the integrity of the fuel storage canisters. Additionally, last summer a loaded canister was nearly dropped several feet. “I think there's dispute and well-intentioned dispute about what the outcome would have been had that 18-foot drop occurred,” adds Rep. Levin.
SONGS’ operator, Southern California Edison, sent 10News the following statement:
“Southern California Edison welcomes the congressmen’s efforts to develop solutions to the issues of transportation and long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel. SCE has been safely storing spent nuclear fuel on site at SONGS for nearly 50 years. We will continue to store spent nuclear fuel here safely until it is moved off site to a federally licensed facility.”
“It should be important to you and certainly to your children and grandchildren,” said Rep. Rouda.
The congressmen told reporters that it could take anywhere from about 10 to 30 years to fully remove the waste.