Originally Published on the ECOreport
San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors made history today. Californians have never voted on whether to demand the Department of Energy remove nuclear waste. As San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is decommissioned, a toxic waste dump is being built 600 feet from the Pacific Ocean, and roughly the same distance from the I-5. Unless some action is taken, 1,400 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel will be stored there. The Board of Supervisors voted 4-0, to “add to the County’s Legislative Program support for legislation that would remove and relocate outside of the San Diego region the spent nuclear fuel stored at the decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.” San Diego says NO to spent nuclear fuel.
San Diego Says No To Spent Nuclear Fuel
“Spent nuclear fuel has no place in San Diego County. As San Onofre is decommissioned, the U.S. Department of Energy needs to step up and find a permanent place for the deadly material,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
“Our focus must be to keep the pressure on the federal government to do what it promised many, many years ago. For the sake of the citizens of San Diego County, and indeed every other community where this waste is piling up, the Secretary of Energy must act. Get this dangerous fuel to a place of safety. Live up to what was promised,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts, who joined Jacob in bringing this motion forward.
There are 8.5 million Californians, spread between San Diego and Los Angeles, within the threatened area if there was a major disaster.
The Potential To Poison
According to Charles Langely, the executive director of Public Watchdogs.org:
The San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump is currently operated by Southern California Edison, which is in line to receive $4.2 Billion in ratepayer monies to maintain safe operation and cleanup of the dump. Southern California Edison’s current plan is to store the waste in gigantic steel drums that are designed to last for at least 20 years.
“Adding to the dangers of the fragile “dry cask” storage containers is the fact that a major nuclear release at San Onofre has the potential to poison as many as 147,000 vehicles and their passengers who travel by train and car past the San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump every day.”
“There’s no foolproof way to completely protect the public from this material. It’s even harder to safeguard Southern Californians when the radioactive waste is stored between a major freeway and the ocean. The possibility of an earthquake or other natural disaster at San Onofre, or even a terrorist attack, would continue to be an endless concern,” said Jacob.
She added, “The federal government has talked in the past about developing a long-term plan to store spent nuclear fuel at a remote location or locations. It’s time to finally make it happen. Too much is at stake.”
“I think we all learned some lessons from Japan that it isn’t a long-term solution. It isn’t a temporary solution,” added Roberts.
As a result of today’s vote, San Diego Chief Administrative Officer will draft a letter “to the United States Secretary of Energy urging the prompt removal and relocation of the spent nuclear fuel currently stored at the decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and provide copies to San Diego County’s federal legislative representatives, the Governor of California, the state legislative delegation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the California Energy Commission and all other appropriate agencies or entities.”1
Endnote (1): quote taken from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Agenda for Sept 15, 2015, “ADVOCATING FOR THE REMOVAL AND RELOCATION OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL FROM THE SAN DIEGO REGION (DISTRICTS: ALL)”
Top Photo Credit: San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station by Jelson25 via Wikipedia (CC BY SA, 3.0 License);San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors (l to r): Bill Horn, Ron Roberts, (Chair) Dianne Jacob, Greg Cox (reclused from vote because of involvement in Coastal Commission), Dave Roberts – Courtesy office of Dianne Jacob;San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station 2013 photo D Ramey Logan via Wikipedia (CC BY SA, 4.0 License)
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