Rally At Belly Up To Protest San Onofre Nuclear Waste Storage

Monday, October 8, 2018
By Alison St John
Credit: Southern California Edison
Above: This undated bird's eye view of the San Onofre Nuclear Power plant shows the spent fuel storage site.

A protest rally Monday night at the Belly Up in Solana Beach aims to raise public awareness about the dangers of continuing to transfer radioactive nuclear waste from spent fuel pools at San Onofre to vertical concrete bunkers near the beach.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not yet produced an inspection report, following a near-miss accident while moving the spent fuel at the plant in August.

The plant is being decommissioned after shutting down in 2012 due to a leak in the steam generators.

Southern California Edison said it will not resume transferring spent fuel to dry cask storage on site next to the ocean until both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Edison are satisfied with corrective actions.

So far, 29 of 75 canisters loaded with spent fuel rods have been moved to the storage site, built by Holtec International.

Edison had hoped to complete the transfer by sometime in 2019, saying storing the spent fuel in dry cask storage is safer than leaving it in the fuel pools.

But opponents say no more radioactive waste should be buried in canisters 100 feet from the ocean, in a seismic area where an estimated eight million people live within 50 miles. They are rallying at the Belly Up in Solana Beach Monday night, with a theme song composed by the band The Shift, called “The San Onofre Blues.”

The free event aims to inspire the public to demand safer alternatives to store the nuclear waste. Speakers will including Navy Admiral Len Hering and a Fukushima evacuee.

Congress has failed to agree on a permanent storage site for the nation’s nuclear waste.

Fifty more containers of spent nuclear fuel are already stored on-site at San Onofre in horizontal containers next to the Holtec storage site.

Solana Beach is about 35 miles south of San Onofre. Oceanside is 20 miles. Downtown San Diego is about 50 miles.

A live stream of the event is planned on Facebook.

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