San Clemente Doesn't Want San Onofre's Nuclear Waste Sticking Around

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
By David Wagner
Photo by David McNew
Above: The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at San Onofre State Beach in a 2012 photo.

Without a national repository for nuclear waste, plants scattered throughout the country will have to keep waste on site for decades, possibly even centuries. Elected officials in San Clemente are expressing concern about how long waste will be stored in their own backyard.

With San Onofre Nuclear Generating System just a few miles down the coast, nuclear waste sits close to home. The San Clemente City Council voted Tuesday to take a stronger stance on waste storage at the plant, which was permanently shut down earlier this year.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission believes waste could safely remain on site for as long as 300 years. Gary Headrick of the environmentalist group San Clemente Green thinks it's a dangerous plan for Southern California.

"That is just absurd because we expect a huge earthquake anytime," Headrick said. "We're long overdue."

In passing this resolution, the city is requesting more time for the public to weigh in on the future of San Onofre's waste. The NRC's period for public comment is scheduled to end on Friday.