Joint Meeting: Department of Energy Funding to Support Community Engagement on Consent-Based Siting of Consolidated Interim Storage Facilities
The SONGS CEP and Spent Fuel Solutions coalition hosted a joint meeting focused on the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) consent-based siting initiative for consolidated interim storage (CIS) facilities for spent nuclear fuel. Natalia Saraeva, team lead for the initiative, provided an overview of the DOE’s three-stage plan to deliver one or more operational federal CIS facilities in 10 to 15 years. Saraeva highlighted the first stage through which $26 million was awarded to 16 consortia to facilitate community engagement on consent-based siting and capacity building.
Our communities are getting organized. A working group on spent fuel policy is comprised of stakeholders from across the country who have collaborated on policy principles, essentially how to structure an integrated and durable spent fuel management program in the US. The Spent Fuel Solutions coalition has grown to 250+ groups and individuals and is taking the lead on advocating for policy changes. The CEP has an ongoing interest in spent fuel management while focusing on SONGS decommissioning.
Several organizations are engaged locally, including Surfrider Foundation, San Clemente Green, Samuel Lawrence Foundation, and Orange County Coastkeeper. Differences exist, but most stakeholders agree on the importance of safe onsite storage of spent fuel and prompt relocation to a federally licensed offsite facility.
Keeping the US spent fuel program on track will require collaboration. The timeline for offsite storage of spent fuel is decades long and therefore requires sustained attention. We also need as many options as possible for offsite storage.
Demolition of the SONGS structures continues to move quickly, with the turbine building removed and the effort to cut up and place the Greater Than Class C waste in canisters on track for completion this fall. Overall, the project more than halfway finished.
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