San Onofre nuclear power plant lawsuit reaches settlement

san onofre nuclear elp august 16

The parties in a lawsuit challenging the permit which allows for temporary storage of used nuclear fuel at the San Onofre nuclear plant have settled the case and will not proceed to hearing on Sept. 8, as scheduled.

In a filing with a San Diego Superior Court judge, the parties acknowledge a shared interest in relocating San Onofre’s used nuclear fuel to an off-site facility.

The parties to the settlement are Southern California Edison, majority owner of San Onofre, and plaintiffs, Citizens Oversight, Inc. and Patricia Borchmann, represented by attorneys Michael Aguirre and Maria Severson. The California Coastal Commission, which issued the permit in 2015 authorizing expansion of on-site storage of used nuclear fuel, is the defendant in the suit.

The settlement agreement details multiple steps SCE will take in support of its efforts to move San Onofre’s used nuclear to an off-site location. In light of SCE’s commitments, plaintiffs have requested a dismissal of the lawsuit. Here is a summary of the settlement.

“A cooperative effort between the public, independent experts and Southern California Edison has begun and will continue until the nuclear waste is removed from San Diego,” said Aguirre. “We are thankful SCE worked hard to reach this common goal,” added Severson.

“The agreement plots a prudent strategy in furtherance of the goal of moving the fuel sooner than later,” said Ray Lutz of Citizens Oversight.

“SCE is proud to take a leadership role in what we expect will become an industry-wide effort over many years to work with the federal government and other key stakeholders to achieve off-site storage,” said Ron Nichols, president of SCE. “We will be vigilant in our efforts to prompt the federal government to act, and until we can secure off-site storage, will continue our 30-year track record of safely storing used fuel at San Onofre.”

The suit was filed in November 2015 after the coastal commission granted SCE’s permit to expand on-site storage of used nuclear fuel at San Onofre. One-third of San Onofre’s used fuel is currently in dry cask storage and the remaining two-thirds is stored in steel-lined concrete pools. To facilitate the safe decommissioning of the plant, SCE plans to move the fuel from the pools into dry storage by 2019, where it would remain until an off-site storage facility is available.

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