Lawsuit filed to halt San Onofre nuclear waste storage plan

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SAN DIEGO – A lawsuit filed Tuesday claims the plan to store tons of highly radioactive waste in North County is a disaster waiting to happen.

Former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aquirre’s law firm filed a lawsuit requesting the California Coastal Commission revoke Southern California Edison’s permit to expand the storage of 3,600,000 pounds of high level nuclear waste at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The storage site is an inoperative nuclear power plant located 100 feet off the Pacific coast, just south of San Clemente.

“There will be a day of calamity if we do not make a change,” Aquirre said.

Ray Lutz, founder of Citizens Oversight Project, expressed his concern for the people living in close proximity to the decommissioned nuke plant and storage facility.

“It’s a tsunami inundation zone. It is an earthquake zone. Its near 8.4 million people. It’s a terrible place for a nuclear waste dump of any kind,” Lutz said. “Why would you put it right where you have thousands of people living? If you get within a few meters of the material, you will die within a week.”

The Coastal Commission has been accused of fast-tracking the storage solution without any research.

“There’s a lot of money flowing through Southern California Edison to all of the elected officials, to the assembly which is supposed to oversee it,” Lutz said.

Commission staff recommended that the permit be approved, in part because the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it meets safety standards.

Staff also said the federal government hasn’t been able to provide a location for spent nuclear fuel to be stored. A proposed site in Nevada has been held up for years because of political opposition.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating State has not operated since January 2012, when a small, non-injury leak occurred. SCE later decided to retire the two reactors rather than follow a costly start-up procedure.

SCE officials said they had no comment regarding the lawsuit.

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