Regular Meeting – Department of Energy and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Spent Fuel Transportation Update and SONGS Dismantlement Update by SONGS DecommissioningSolutions

Oct 26, 2023
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Key Takeaways

A virtual meeting of the Community Engagement Panel included updates on the development of railcars to support the future transportation of spent nuclear from sites like SONGS, the latest work of the Spent Fuel Solutions coalition, and the status of decommissioning.

The Department of Energy is well along in planning for spent fuel transportation, largely by rail but also by road and barge as needed. Special railcars are designed to reduce the risk of derailment and DOE is working on two models to carry different sized loads—a larger Atlas and smaller Fortis railcar. Atlas railcar testing is complete, with approval by the Association of American Railroads anticipated in the next few months, ahead of the DOE’s timeframe for providing offsite storage of spent fuel. Also underway is work on an integrated rail security and safety monitoring system to help detect equipment malfunctions before failure.

Railcars will carry spent fuel canisters and packages designed to assure the containment of all contents in severe accident conditions including a drop, fire, and immersion in water.

Spent Fuel Solutions coalition co-chairs/CEP members/Supervisors Katrina Foley of Orange County and Jim Desmond of San Diego County provided updates on important work to advocate for offsite storage and disposal of spent fuel. SFS is executing a strategy to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in ways that would provide for a more durable and integrated spent fuel management program that includes both near-term storage and permanent disposal. Educational webinars are available for those interested in learning more about solutions for offsite storage and disposal of spent fuel, and recordings are online.

The decommissioning general contractor for SONGS is 63 percent finished with the current phase of dismantlement, with full completion expected by the end of 2028.

The meeting was the first with Dan Stetson as CEP Chair and San Clemente City Councilmember Victor Cabral as Vice Chair. It was the last for SCE’s Doug Bauder, who is retiring, and the first for Fred Bailly who succeeds Doug as Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer.

The meeting was well attended with robust discussion. During public comment, Katie Day of Surfrider Foundation stated in part that ocean water samples recently collected before, during, and after a discharge of cleaned up wastewater from SONGS were found to have levels of Cesium-134 and -137 that are “considered very low, even well below EPA drinking water limits.”


  • Watch an SFS webinar on the evolving narrative on the US spent fuel management program.
  • Register to watch the Nov. 2 DOE webinar on consortia working on consent-based siting.
  • Register for a tour of SONGS, stay up to date on the CEP, and book a speaker for a civic group meeting using the SONGS community engagement page.

SONGS CEP Regular Meeting

Date: October 26, 2023

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 pm (PDT) / 5:00 – 8:00 pm (EDT)

Location: via Microsoft Teams (link provided below)

How to Join the Meeting Virtually via Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)

+1 213-297-0156,,663079247# United States, Los Angeles

Phone Conference ID: 663 079 247#

Find a local number | Reset PIN

Meetings MAY be recorded only if the presenter enables the recording feature AND initiates recording. If the meeting is being recorded, you will be warned and you may either consent to recording by staying on the call or hang up and contact meeting host.

Learn More | Help | Meeting options | Legal

How to Submit a Question/Comment

Early submittal of questions/comments before a CEP meeting increases the likelihood of a response during the meeting.

  • Questions and comments may be submitted via email to:
  • Questions and comments submitted in advance of the meeting and related to agenda topics will be—to the greatest extent possible—addressed in the presentation and/or discussed during facilitated public dialogue or, if necessary, responded to via email following the meeting.
  • Questions and comments received via NUCCOMM and related to agenda topics will be addressed first; questions on broader topics received during the public comment period will be addressed subsequently.

To submit questions/comments during a CEP meeting, use the CEP Comment Form link (if attending virtually) or use the hardcopy CEP Question/Comment Cards (if attending in-person) available at the registration table near the facility entrance.

  • Questions and comments will be added to the queue in order of receipt.
  • Questions and comments related to the meeting agenda topics will be —to the greatest extent possible—addressed during facilitated public dialogue or, if necessary, responded to via email following the meeting.
  • Victor Cabral and Martha McNicholas will facilitate the public dialogue portion of the meeting.

How to Sign Up to Speak

To sign up to speak:

  • Complete the CEP Comment Form (if attending virtually)
  • Sign up at the registration table at the entrance of the meeting venue
  • The Chairman will call on individuals by name one at a time to speak
    • the Microsoft Teams microphone will be opened for each individual (if attending virtually)
    • each individual may speak at the microphone provided on the lectern at the facility

Each speaker will have three minutes to ask a question or deliver a comment.