Avoiding California’s Fukushima – San Onofre nuclear waste storage program moving forward

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) may have stopped running, but the battle over where to store the waste it’s generated over the decades is heating up.

Representative Darrell Issa, a long-time incumbent of California’s 49th District (covering parts of Orange and San Diego counties), is not loved by environmentalists. He boasts a track record of voting against environmental regulation at pretty much any opportunity that presents itself—the League of Conservation voters gives him a 4% on their scorecard that tracks pro-environmental voting records. But right now, he’s on the same side of the fight with many local and statewide environmentalists: opposing the indefinite storage of nuclear waste at the mothballed San Onofre nuclear power plant.

As of now, the plan is to keep spent fuel in dry cask storage, about 100 feet from the sea, behind a thirty-foot seawall, near an earthquake fault line, a stone’s throw from millions of people, with what sure seems like scant protection against an oceanic disaster, the likes of which felled Fukushima (though there’s no chance of a meltdown like at Fukushima, since the reactors are shut down, any waste escaping the plant would be a disaster). Southern California Edison, the company responsible for managing the waste, has already begun filling storage containers.

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