Updates: October 2019

Coastal Commission Must Reject Decommissioning Application

Southern California Edison’s application to dismantle Units 2 and 3 at San Onofre is headed to the California Coastal Commission for a vote on Thursday, Oct. 17, in Chula Vista.

We can only hope that the powerful commissioners vote No.

The utility has applied for permits to demolish the spent fuel pool from which the nuclear waste is transferred into containers for dry storage. As regulators and the utility itself have shown, the canisters are defective and can’t be moved. That means the spent fuel would be marooned indefinitely right next to the rising sea.

Stranding the nuclear waste is a direct violation of the terms upon which the Coastal Commission approved plans for the storage facility years ago.

In other words, Edison must not be allowed to raze the spent fuel pool until its dry storage system meets requirements for the waste to someday be transported away from the facility.

We encourage you to oppose the Edison application when the Coastal Commission meets at 9 a.m. Oct. 17 at the Chula Vista City Council chambers, 276 4th Ave., Chula Vista.

Please email commissioners before 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11:

Email Template:


Subject:  Thursday, Oct. 17, Item 12A, Application No. 9-19-0194
(Southern California Edison)

Dear Commissioners,

Please DENY Application No. 9-19-0194 for the onshore portion of decommissioning of Units 2 and 3 at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. In light of serious, documented defects with its dry storage system, Southern California Edison must not be granted a permitted to destroy its spent fuel pool until its dry storage system meets requirements for the waste to someday be transported away from the facility. Stranding the nuclear waste on the coast would be a direct violation of the terms upon which the Coastal Commission approved the plans for the interim dry storage facility in 2015.


Open the Coastal Commission staff report.

1Table 4.I.9, page 1050, Holtec International Final Safety Analysis Report for the HI-STORM 1
00 Cask System. USNRC Docket No.: 72-1014, Holtec Report No.: HI-2002444.
2S. Alyokhina, Thermal analysis of certain accident conditions of dry spent nuclear fuel storage, Nuclear Engineering and Technology 50 (2018) 717-723.
3Chakraborty and English, 2019, ES&H Risk Estimation from “Interim Storage” of SNF at the Beach: The San Onofre NPP, WM2019 Conference, March 3-7, 2019, Phoenix, Arizona, USA (under review).
4Pg. 4-24 Table 12, NUREG-1864 – A Pilot Probabilistic Risk Assessment of a Dry Cask Storage System at a Nuclear Power Plant, March 2007, A. Malliakos, NRC Project Manager

Report Shows Storage System is a Lemon

We’ve said all along that the nuclear waste storage system at San Onofre is a lemon. Now we have photos to prove it.

Wear marks, water staining, carbon steel contamination and fabrication artifacts are among the “surface irregularities” described in a Visual Assessment Report prepared by Southern California Edison in March. The Samuel Lawrence Foundation obtained a copy of the report last week.

During the assessment, robotic cameras found damage on some of the canisters. The worst damage was a 24-inch-long, .026-inch deep gouge.

In a January 2019 study, San Onofre Nuclear Waste Problems, the Samuel Lawrence Foundation shows how gouging of the canisters can lead to corrosion and ultimately to failure. Storage facilities at San Onofre are 100 feet from the ocean and awash with salty air, which only exacerbates corrosion risks.

Last month, the San Diego Union-Tribune cited NRC documents in which an agency inspector noted that the canisters were designed — and certified — to be stored without any scratches. The inspector found that many of the canisters were scraped and scratched as they were lowered into storage, according to the U-T report.

In Del Mar, a 5-0 Vote for Safe Storage

The Del Mar City Council voted unanimously Sept. 30 to demand safe handling and storage of San Onofre’s nuclear waste. The vote followed public testimony that blasted the failures of Southern California Edison and regulators charged with keeping us safe. One of the speakers was Cathy Iwane, a Samuel Lawrence Foundation board member and Del Mar resident.

Cathy told the council that she and her family fled Japan after the Fukushima meltdowns of 2011. At the time, elevated radiation levels were detected in fish, milk and leafy greens in the Wakayama prefecture, where she and her family lived, 380 miles from Fukushima.

“Of all the families living in Del Mar,” she said, “I would venture that mine is the only one that has relocated after a nuclear disaster.”

The Del Mar City Council’s vote follows similar action by city councils in Carlsbad and Solana Beach in September and July, respectively.

Watch a video of the Del Mar City Council hearing on San Onofre.