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San Onofre One Step Closer To Deconstruction, But Critics Say It’s Too Soon

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is pictured in this undated photo.

Photo by Shalina Chatlani

Above: The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is pictured in this undated photo.

In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the California Coastal Commission told Southern California Edison it could start dismantling the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, including major structures such as the well-known domes.

Some safety advocates, like Donna Gilmore, however, worry about the radioactive waste that's being stored so close to the ocean. She says taking down the plant will make it more difficult to inspect and eventually remove the waste.

"We had enough hard evidence, even evidence from Edison to say they can’t inspect those canisters by any code," Gilmore said.

She says the California Coastal Commission didn’t hear critics out on the vote.

"It was clear they were ready to just approve the thing, and that’s what started the problem!" she said.

However, the utility says the canisters meet regulatory and safety requirements.

“We are committed to protecting the safety of our workers and the public, to stewardship of our natural environment and open engagement with our community,” said Doug Bauder, Edison's vice president and chief nuclear officer, in a statement.

A utility spokesperson told KPBS dismantling the plant will have no impact on moving the canisters for their ultimate disposable in a federal repository.

The utility expects the plant to be dismantled over eight to 10 years.

Listen to this story by Shalina Chatlani.


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Photo of Shalina Chatlani

Shalina Chatlani
Science and Technology Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover all things science and technology — from the biotech industry in San Diego to rooftop solar energy on new homes. I'm interested in covering the human side of science and technology, like barriers to entry for people of color or gender equity issues on biotech boards.

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