The state of the spent fuel at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was a major topic of public concern at Southern California Edison’s Community Engagement Panel meeting Thursday. Photo: Andrea Swayne
The state of the spent fuel at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was a major topic of public concern at Southern California Edison’s Community Engagement Panel meeting Thursday. Photo: Andrea Swayne

By Jim Shilander

Members of Southern California Edison’s Community Engagement Panel on the decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station got updates on the utility’s plan for the timeline of the work to be done at the facility Thursday in Oceanside.

Edison Chief Nuclear Officer Thomas Palmisano said the utility still plans to submit its post-shutdown decommissioning activities report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission later this year, but said much of the planning for the demolition of the plant and the future status of the site is still in the preliminary planning stages, as were discussions with the Department of the Navy, which owns the site.

Palmisano said the utility is also looking at ways to remove the plant’s dependence on ocean water cooling systems within the next few years, potentially eliminating outflow from the plant into the Pacific.

In response to questions from the panel, Palmisano said that while management of the deconstruction of the facility would likely be done by a specialty firm, the actual work would likely be done by local workers.

Members of the public expressed concern over the future of spent fuel storage at the site, especially with the unlikelihood of a central national depository for spent fuel ever being built. San Clemente resident Donna Gilmore told the panel that the NRC did not provide enough oversight in the matter and “we feel like we’re on our own.”

Gilmore expressed concern about potential cracking of such casks, which she said had been approved by the NRC with a central repository in mind.

The next meeting of the panel is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 9, with a focus on emergency planning and preparedness.

The draft versions of Edison’s plans can be read at www.songscommunity.org

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