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Today’s SONGS Announcement: Now What?

Victor Dricks
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Region IV

sanoToday, Southern California Edison Co. announced it will permanently shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Clemente, Calif. This has left many people — who have been closely following events there — wondering what happens next?

First, SCE has not formally notified the NRC of its intention to shut down the two-unit site, so we do not yet know what they’re proposing as a path forward, or how this will affect existing NRC adjudications, investigations, and licensing actions.

But in light of this news, the NRC is cancelling the series of small group meetings we planned to hold next week to discuss process matters related to the potential restart of the plant.

Once we get the notification, the agency’s focus will shift from finishing our technical evaluation of Edison’s proposed restart plan to ensuring the plant is safely and permanently removed from service and decommissioned.

The NRC staff members are scouting potential locations for a large public meeting, and we hope to announce a time and location for this soon. At that meeting, NRC staff will provide an overview of the decommissioning process and opportunities for public participation.

58 responses to “Today’s SONGS Announcement: Now What?

  1. joy cash June 16, 2013 at 4:29 am

    My only concerns at this point: When do we remove stored spent fuel at San Onofre, located between 2 active earthquake faults? What evacuation plans are viable for 8.4 million residents until spent fuel is safely removed from densely populated areas?

    • Moderator June 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Until a permanent federal repository is approved and constructed, spent nuclear fuel will be stored onsite both in the spent fuel pool and dry cask storage at the plants where it was produced. The Department of Energy is responsible for the developing a permanent disposal site of spent nuclear fuel and other high-level radioactive wastes.

      The Federal Emergency Management Agency has reviewed and approved the emergency response plans for San Onofre, and continues to inspect them during biennial exercises and annual assist visits. FEMA continues to believe there is reasonable assurance that timely evacuations can be performed for the populations at risk from any sort of emergency affecting the cities around San Onofre.

      Victor Dricks

      • joy cash June 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm

        Where can public access FEMA emergency evacuation plans for 8.4 million residents?

      • Moderator June 18, 2013 at 10:59 am

        You should consult your local emergency management authorities for that information; they are the ones who prepare, practice and implement evacuation plans.

        David McIntyre

      • joey June 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm

        The responsibility for waste is on the people producing it. I don’t care about the old rules, we are making new ones. Once the waste leaves the plant and enters the pools, it no longer belongs to PG&E or SCE. That will change. The public is a shareholder who foots all the burdens and bills but gets no benefit. All we get is a ticking nuclear conflagration in the wings. First 4 steps: 1 stop making more spent fuel 2 all spent fuel into dry cask storage within 7 years, then weld shut seawater cooling intakes. 3 establish an agency -a priesthood if you will- that will watch the spent fuel until it winds down in 500 thousand years, a ‘nukes templar’. 4. Move spent fuel away from seismicly active areas

        On Facebook: stop the diablo canyon seismic testing

      • joey June 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

        You have 7 years before the once through cooling seawater intake gets welded shut forever. You had better start planning to dry cask store everything by then. Joey Racano

        On Facebook: stop the diablo canyon seismic testing

      • joy cash June 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm

        I understand “sheltering in place” for San Diego School District with 132,000 school children is currently considered our plan in the event of radioactive nuclear event at San Onofre. We all know a viable evacuation is simply not possible. Imagine a teacher with 20 students in classroom lock down without adequate food, watezr & bathroom facilitates for an unspecified time. Parents panicking in attempting to reach their children. Freeways in gridlock. No I don’t see these plans as viable. I see a simpler solution: removal of radioactive materials from densely populated areas.

    • Jamie Irwin June 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

      You should direct your concerns to Obama. Obama’s DoE cancelled the Yucca Mountain repository in order to get Harry Reid re-elected to the Senate. Basically he put politics before your concerns. Do you like that? If it weren’t for Obama cancelling Yucca Mountain, there would be a place for the SONGS material to go. But there isn’t, because it was more important to get Harry Reid re-elected.

      • Jamie Irwin June 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

        “I see a simpler solution: removal of radioactive materials from densely populated areas.”

        Make your concerns known to your President. Don’t go hammering the shutdown nuclear plant about it. It was your President who stopped Yucca Mountain. If Yucca Mountain were proceeding on schedule as required by Federal Law (which your President is in violation of) then there would be a place to send the material. There isn’t, because of the actions of your President.

      • joey June 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm

        I am no obama-ite. But nuclear waste should not go to yucca anyway- the undeground water moves differently than the reports have told the public. In fact, there is a good reason why nobody wants that its dangerous and will outlast the human race. Dont blame obama on your timidity to stop production immediately. Its up to us, not him. Support the NRC and force them to vote our way.

      • Jamie Irwin June 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm

        Production at SONGS HAS STOPPED IMMEDIATELY! But, you know what? There is still MATERIAL TO BE DISPOSED OF. If you trashed every nuclear plant in the country right now, besides poisoning the atmosphere and acidifying the oceans with more fossil fuel burning, which you would be responsible for, you’d still have to dispose of material. But because your President (Obama) destroyed the Yucca Mountain project, there is no place for it to go other than the plant sites themselves. And then you get all huffy about that plan because you say some nonsense like it’s a holocaust in waiting (which it isn’t). So on the one hand you trash Yucca Mountain, then turn around and squawk because there is “no place to get rid of nuclear waste”. Well, it’s your fault there isn’t, because of your President that you elected.

  2. BobinPgh June 15, 2013 at 12:05 am

    What method will be used to decommission San Onofre? Who would decide this? Since it is right on the beach, I think if it is not producing power anymore that the DECON method should be used to at least take the non-nuclear part closest to the beach away and give the land back to the public. The domes might be there awhile, but I would think there could be valuble metal and could some of the machinery be used anywhere else (although isn’t San Onofre a unique plant?). When might people start to see a difference in how the place looks. All that exposed machinery was pretty ugly.

    • Moderator June 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      SoCal Edison last week certified to the NRC that they have permanently shut down San Onofre Units 2 and 3. However, the company has not yet submitted a decommissioning plan. See our blog post of February 28, “Deconstructing the Decommissioning Process,” about Crystal River 3. The regulations and process will be similar for SONGS.

      As for the funding, all licensees – whether for operating or permanently shutdown reactors in decommissioning – must maintain decommissioning funds. The NRC reviews these funds every two years to verify reasonable assurance that adequate funding will be available for decommissioning when needed.

      David McIntyre

  3. Moderator June 11, 2013 at 8:46 am

    We recognize this is an issue that raises emotions and on which people have significant differences of opinion, but please keep personal attacks out of the comments so we can post them.


    • Anonymous June 11, 2013 at 10:51 am

      these kinds of conversations often fall apart because one “side” brings nothing but facts to the table, while “the other side” is not above exaggeration or downright lying. The problem is, both “sides” think this is what is happening, and they’re not “the other side.”

  4. CaptD June 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I hope that the NRC will commit to providing everyone with the results from the many investigations into why San Onofre’s debacle occurred; perhaps then many of those in the nuclear field will realise that just because it is nuclear does not mean it cannot fail, and nuclear failure is unacceptable both for our Country and the Earth… Ask The Japanese!

    From a recent seminar in San Diego:
    Lessons for California from Gregory Jaczko, Former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    + Former Japanese PM Kan and two other experts…


  5. john bowers June 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Excellent. Every NPP and SFP is a potential catastrophe, capable: of ruining an area the size of a large western state, or larger; of killing millions of people by heart disease, diabetes, and cancer over decades; of doing devastating damage to the human genome and the genomes of all creatures.

    • Jamie Irwin June 10, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      And by advocating the scrapping of nuclear plants, you will be responsible for burning more natural gas, which will release hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2 and thousands of tons of methane to the environment. That will degrade the atmosphere and you will also be responsible for the acidification of the oceans, which will lead to the deaths of billions.

  6. 1948billhawkins June 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    SCE was afraid of of ASLB ruling and public hearings and NRC Commission started small group public hearings to comply with ASLB ruling of public hearings. So that was the breakdown and SCE to save face, not sure of their Restart Plan and avoid criminal investigations announced panicky Shutdown of Both Units. Shutdown does not mean that all the investigation will go away. You pay for what wrongs you do to others by retaliating, lying, discriminating and harassing for Nuclear Safety Concerns. If SCE Management would have listened to me when I rejected the SONGS Unit 3 Root Cause , SONGS would have Unit 2 rebuilt by now with public/NRC approval and producing power.

    • CaptD June 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Yes, I agree 100%

      Said another way SCE continues to practice CYA and I predict that time will prove that SCE got more than a little nuclear design egg on their face and will now have to repay their ratepayers because of it!

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