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SoCal Edison To Start Dismantling San Onofre Power Plant

Photo of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station taken on April 5, 2019.

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: Photo of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station taken on April 5, 2019.

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The California Coastal Commission has given Southern California Edison permission to begin dismantling the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The looming demolition brings up long-running issues of fuel disposal and safety.

Aired: October 22, 2019 | Transcript

The California Coastal Commission last week gave permission to Southern California Edison to begin the process of dismantling San Onofre.

But they did so, as one commissioner said, "holding our nose."

What stinks, the commissioners said, is that the federal government has yet to find or build a permanent place to store spent nuclear fuel. San Onofre's 3.55 million pounds of fuel will remain stored in canisters on the site, between Interstate 5 and the ocean.

Nevertheless, Edison will begin taking down the plant in a couple of months, starting in December or January. The entire process is expected to take 8 to 10 years.

The most contentious issue before the commissioners was whether to demolish the pools that store spent fuel. Edison agreed it will not get rid of the pools until it funds an independent third-party review of its inspection and maintenance plan for the canisters.

Rob Nikolewski, energy reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune, reveals details of the Coastal Commission decisions.

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