A model illustrates the process of placing spent fuel into dry cask storage. Photo: Jim Shilander
A model illustrates the process of placing spent fuel into dry cask storage. Photo: Jim Shilander

By Jim Shilander and Andrea Papagianis

The future of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s spent nuclear fuel was a topic of big interest last week as the major owner and operator of the shuttered plant, Southern California Edison, hosted an informational event on the plant’s decommissioning.

Interested visitors flocked to a display at the San Juan Community Center focused on long-term storage of spent fuel at the site, which is currently housed in large cooling pools.

In August, Edison announced a plan to transfer all used-nuclear fuel into dry-cask storage by 2019. Nearby residents and nuclear-safety activists have urged for the transfer as quickly as possible, as they consider dry-storage containers less vulnerable to disasters.

Gene Stone, a leader in the local environmental movement and member of Edison’s community panel tasked with engaging residents in the decommissioning process, expressed concern with the utility’s chosen storage options.

Stone voiced worry about the potential for dry-cast storage leaks and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s, the body which oversees the nation’s nuclear plants, regulations for such storage, which he said did not reflect plans for long-term storage of nuclear waste.

The Community Engagement Panel, with representatives from Orange and San Diego counties, will meet Tuesday, Oct. 14 to discuss spent-fuel storage. The event will be held at the San Juan Community Center, located at 25925 Camino del Avion.

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