San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. File photo
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. File photo

By Jim Shilander

The operator of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is considering tripling the size of its onsite nuclear fuel storage as the plant’s decommissioning process moves forward.

The announcement came a week after a wildfire, sparked by a big-rig blaze, shutdown Interstate 5 near the plant. The fire, some nuclear activists say, is further evidence that Southern California Edison must remove nuclear waste from the plant as soon as possible.

At a community engagement panel meeting hosted by Edison Thursday, May 22, Thomas Palmasino, the utility’s chief nuclear officer, said the company could expand its system for storing dry casks, which is considered the safest form of spent fuel storage.

Currently, one-third of spent fuel from the plant’s three reactors is housed in dry-cask storage. The remainder is being stored in the plant’s cooling pools. The decommissioning was announced in June 2013, a year and a half after a radioactive leak and wear were discovered in two active nuclear reactors.

Edison is expected to provide the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal body that oversees the nation’s commercial nuclear power sites, with decommissioning cost estimates and reports on fuel management and post-shutdown activities later this year.

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