During a tour of SONGS, Southern California Edison staff assured me that dry cask storage is, in fact, safer than wet storage. “For wet storage, you need a constant supply of power to the pools for cooling,” Pontes told me. “Dry storage, on the other hand, is a completely passive system.
Shimkus’ bill has received bipartisan support as well as a White House endorsement, but expedited timelines “at the expense of environmental review processes,” are cause for concern at Surfrider Foundation and other environmental groups. “The only way we make this an issue is by being vocal in our local communities, at the state level, and at the federal level,” Surfrider CEO Chad Nelsen told The Inertia. “We need to be reaching out to our representatives and say ‘This is a priority issue and you need to help us deal with this.
Past my plastic protective glasses, I could see through the grating to the first level, fifteen-or-so feet below us. Mild acrophobia set in. “Now, when this was in operation there would have been hundreds of people pouring in and out of here at any given time, not to mention the whirring of machinery,” Ron continued. “When Southern California Edison elected to close the plant, staff was significantly reduced.
The first was introduced by Representative Darrell Issa in 2017, and would authorize the “Secretary of Energy to enter into contracts for the storage of high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel, take title to certain high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, and make certain expenditures from the Nuclear Waste Fund.
And during an August 3rd Community Engagement Panel, David Fritch who identified himself as a worker associated with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed that safety shortcomings in the canister loading process nearly resulted in one canister “falling 18 feet. ” Fritch blamed Edison for not being forthright about what was going on, although there is still uncertainty if the mishap posed any threat to the public.
In the meantime, Southern California Edison has taken to moving spent nuclear fuel – also called “assemblies” – from cooling pools to dry casks and storing them on site.
Jaczko is particularly concerned that with sea level rise over the next several decades, water intrusion could be a serious issue leading to corrosion and leakage. “I think an approach where the fuel is much more accessible is a much better approach, and where the fuel is not as close to the coast,” he said.
Some have also proposed so-called “interim” storage solutions, or facilities that could take spent fuel from plants across the country and store it until a long-term facility is constructed.
And while SONGS staff is confident in the safety of the independent spent fuel storage installations (ISFSIs) wherein giant 5/8″ thick stainless steel alloy canisters are placed in a concrete pad several feet above the water table, many in the community have expressed their concern about the proximity of metal containers to corrosive salty air.
It’s also precisely the reason Edison created a Community Engagement Panel, which meets quarterly, in the first place. “We’re very much aligned with the folks here that want to see the fuel move sooner than later.
Most notably, former NRC Chief Greg Jaczko. “You have to recognize that this is not a short-term solution,” said Jaczko in an interview with KPBS News. “Whatever is going to be done with this spent fuel is probably going to happen to this fuel for decades if not centuries.
Suffice to say, recent flare-ups concerning the decommissioning process, and specifically how Southern California Edison is storing spent nuclear fuel at SONGS, is an age-old problem with different window dressing.
David Victor, professor of international relations at UC San Diego and chairman of the Community Engagement Panel, the obstacles are all political. “The really big frontier is political,” Victor told me. “It’s helping communities like ours understand our common purpose and mission and join up around that.
Read more here: The Inertia