OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- Two Southern California congressmen say they will introduce legislation to move nuclear waste from the former site of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant to a permanent storage area.
Tuesday, Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) and Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) toured the power plant to check on the progress of the decommissioning. Workers have temporarily halted moving spent nuclear fuel rods from the decommissioned reactors to storage containers on the side after a container of the spent fuel was nearly dropped 18 feet.
The congressmen say the spent nuclear fuel should not be stored at the coastal site. Levin said there are 8.3 million people living in a 50-mile radius of the site, so storing radioactive material there is dangerous. He said removing the toxic fuel should be a top priority for the Federal Government.
“I don’t think there is any other site inside the United States that has the seismic risk, the population density and is a decommissioned or decommissioning site,” Levin said.
“It should be important to you and it should be important to your children and your grandchildren,” said Rouda.
Moving the spent fuel to a permanent holding facility will take at least 10 years, the congressmen said. But if their proposed legislation doesn't get passed the nuclear waste could remain at San Onofre indefinitely.
Complicating the problem, there is currently no federal nuclear waste storage facility to move the spent fuel to.