With the federal government’s recent restart of the consent-based siting effort, the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel (CEP) will receive a briefing Feb. 10 from Dr. Kimberly Petry of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy on a new effort regarding off-site consolidated interim storage of spent nuclear fuel. The meeting will begin at noon Pacific Time, to accommodate East Coast participants, and take place via Microsoft Teams video conference.
Last month, the DOE announced a request for information, or RFI, seeking comments from stakeholders and the public on a new, consent-based approach to siting a temporary, consolidated Federal interim spent nuclear fuel storage facility. This approach, putting an emphasis on buy-in from communities that may want to consider hosting the spent fuel, was recommended by the Blue Ribbon Commission in 2012 and is consistent with SCE and other stakeholders’ shared interest in relocating the fuel off-site.
“We cannot continue to defer the problem for future generations to figure out,” said Petry, DOE’s acting deputy assistant secretary for Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition. “By prioritizing communities and people, we believe we can find a solution to the decades-long stalemate on managing the nation’s spent nuclear fuel.”
The DOE effort comes with the added benefit of congressional support, as well as $20 million in 2022 funding for various activities.
There are 123 canisters of spent nuclear fuel safely stored at San Onofre, which is located on land leased from the U.S. Navy as part of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Until the spent fuel is removed, decommissioning cannot be fully completed and the land restored for return to the Navy.
“What I hear from the public is keen interest in finding responsible ways to move the spent fuel away from San Onofre,” said CEP Chairman Dr. David Victor. “It is very encouraging to see the Department of Energy focused on that topic and inviting a lot of public input into how we can successfully move the fuel.”
Representatives from the Action for Spent Fuel Solutions Now coalition will provide the local perspective on the DOE’s planned approach to consent-based siting for off-site interim storage facilities. John Kotek of the Nuclear Energy Institute will provide the national perspective.
Members of the public can view the meeting video conference by first visiting SONGScommunity.com, where a link to the meeting is provided, as well as register to provide comments during the meeting.
When SCE announced the retirement of San Onofre Units 2 and 3 in June 2013, it established the core principles of safety, stewardship and engagement to guide decommissioning.
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