San Juan Capistrano CA— U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) released a report on Wednesday by his San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) Task Force, which includes proposals from local stakeholders and experts to improve safety at the San Onofre facility and remove the spent nuclear fuel from the region. Rep. Levin formed the Task Force during his first month in office with the goal of driving solutions to move and safely store sensitive waste located at San Onofre. He appointed Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering Sr., USN (Ret.) and former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Gregory Jaczko to lead the Task Force as co-chairs.
The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is located in the center of California’s 49th Congressional District. The facility, which stopped producing electricity in 2012, stores 1,600 tons of spent nuclear fuel just 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean, near active earthquake fault lines, and with more than nine million people living within 50 miles of the facility. Furthermore, recent concerns have arisen surrounding the choice of Holtec International to store onsite spent nuclear fuel, as well as training and monitoring being conducted by Southern California Edison (SCE). The Task Force’s report explores each of these areas in depth. It also outlines some of the major issues to securely store, remove, and eventually dispose of the spent nuclear fuel at SONGS, as well as some overarching national policy challenges that must be addressed.
“I am fortunate to represent one of the most beautiful Congressional districts in the United States, but 1,600 tons of spent nuclear fuel sitting at San Onofre threaten our safety and our coastline,” said Rep. Levin. “We must ensure the safety of the San Onofre site, minimize the probability for accidents, improve emergency planning, and strengthen public trust. We must also begin planning in earnest to transport the waste away from SONGS — a highly challenging but not insurmountable task. While there are a wide range of views on how we should move forward, this report provides a roadmap for how we can move forward together. I’m incredibly grateful for all of the work my San Onofre Task Force and it’s Co-Chairs have put into developing solutions for these challenges, and I’m thrilled to share their work.”
“We want to thank the tremendous effort of all the members of the Task Force. Dealing with spent nuclear fuel is a challenging technical, environmental, policy and communications task,” said Task Force Co-Chairs Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering Sr. and Former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko. “The thoughtful, deliberative and extensive evidence and conclusions in this report represent the dedication and effort of the task force members. We hope this report will provide useful information, and we thank Rep. Levin for the opportunity to lead this Task Force. We commend him for his leadership on the issue.”
Rep. Levin introduced the Spent Fuel Prioritization Act to prioritize the removal of spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned nuclear sites in areas with large populations and high seismic hazard. He has also advocated to fund the consolidated interim storage program at the Department of Energy and cosponsored the STORE Nuclear Fuel Act of 2019, directing the Secretary of Energy to create a program for the interim storage of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. He has consistently pressured the NRC to increase safety and accountability measures at SONGS, and met with NRC Chair Kristine Svinicki to express his constituents’ strong desire for greater oversight at the facility. Rep. Levin will continue to fight for action from the federal government to address the storage of spent nuclear fuel across the country, and will remain in constant contact with local stakeholders regarding the future of SONGS.
The full report and other relevant documents from the Task Force are published here: mikelevin.house.gov/san-onofre-task-force-report.