Regular Meeting – SONGS Spent Fuel Storage Defense-In-Depth and Decommissioning Update

Aug 17, 2023
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Key Takeaways

The Community Engagement Panel (CEP) hosted a public meeting and tour at the SONGS plant site. Following the tour, the CEP held a hybrid in-person/virtual meeting focused on defense-in-depth for the on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel.

The CEP has received annual updates on dry storage of spent fuel since 2015. “Defense in depth” is the multi-layered, active program to ensure spent fuel remains safely contained while on site. No immediate or near-term concerns have been identified. SONGS engineers are active in this space and will keep the CEP apprised of the results of ongoing research.

A key part of “defense in depth” is regular Inspections of dry cask storage systems—not just at SONGS but also similar systems at nuclear plants across the country. The next inspections at SONGS are planned for Spring 2024 when two canisters with spent fuel along with a test canister with no fuel—all in the Holtec UMAX system—will be inspected. To date, worldwide, no inspections have identified canisters that require repair. If a repair is ever needed, the latest research has found that the leading repair method is metallic overlay (also known as cold spray) which was developed and demonstrated by a team that included SONGS engineers.

The last of SONGS spent fuel canisters will qualify for off-site transportation by 2030, ahead of the U.S. Department of Energy’s most optimistic timeline for opening a consolidated interim storage facility for spent fuel. With the federal government more than two decades behind schedule for providing off-site storage and disposal of spent fuel, the nuclear industry’s ongoing research related to defense in depth is essential. The CEP will revisit the topic next year.

The Spent Fuel Solutions coalition will hold its next webinar on Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. to noon Pacific time. A panel discussion with leading experts will explore the shifting influences and evolving narrative around the U.S. spent nuclear fuel program.

The meeting was the last chaired by David Victor, who has rolled off the CEP. David noted how the panel has added value in multiple ways including a non-classified meeting on “outlier events” and, along the way, has become a model. Separate from the CEP, he will remain engaged on spent fuel policy. Dan Stetson now serves as Chairman with San Clemente City Councilmember Victor Cabral as Vice Chairman. Martha McNicholas continues as Secretary.


  • Learn more about defense-in-depth for the onsite storage of spent fuel.
  • Register for a tour of SONGS, stay up to date on the CEP, and/or book a speaker for a civic group meeting using the SONGS community engagement page.
  • Get details about the upcoming Spent Fuel Solutions webinar and catch up on past events.

SONGS Tour and Onsite CEP Regular Meeting

SONGS Spent Fuel Storage Defense-In-Depth

SCE is hosting a brief public tour (in golf carts) of SONGS in conjunction with an onsite CEP meeting. Come see the status of the decommissioning project and attend an abbreviated CEP meeting with a standard hourlong public comment period in our large, air-conditioned tent.

The focus topic is defense-in-depth for the onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel. Pre-registration is required for all who wish to participate in the tour and/or attend the meeting in person. Details are provided below. This will be a hybrid in-person/Microsoft Teams meeting, so those unable to participate in person may join the meeting virtually.

August 17, 2023

5:00 pm – Check-in / registration for tour

5:30 – 6:30 pm – Tour of SONGS (Limited space, first come first served)

6:00 pm - Arrival for CEP members and public guests who are not participating in the tour

6:30 – 8:30 pm - CEP meeting

Pre-registration is required as the tour and tent are located within the NRC-regulated owner controlled area. To register for the plant tour (ages 12 years and above only) and/or the in-person CEP meeting, use the link provided below.

Tour and meeting registration deadline is August 11, 2023

Registration for in-person meeting and tour is closed. Please join us virtually (see instructions below) for the CEP meeting at 6:30pm.

On the day of the tour/meeting, make sure you have the following on your person

  • Valid driver’s license or passport – otherwise entry to the owner-controlled area where the tour and meeting will take place will be denied
  • Wear sturdy shoes that fully cover your toes, heel and top of foot. NO ballerina flats, no shoes with heels, no wedges or platform shoes, and no sandals.
  • Wear long pants (no shorts or board shorts), and shirts with sleeves (no tanks tops)

How to Join the Meeting Virtually via Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams meeting

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How to Submit a Question/Comment

To submit questions/comments in advance of a CEP meeting use the email address provided:

  • 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
  • Comments must be received 2 days prior to the meeting date to be addressed during the meeting or a response will be sent via e-mail following the meeting
  • NUCCOMM comments related to agenda topics will be addressed first followed by comments during the public comment period.

To submit questions/comments during a CEP meeting:

Use the link provided: CEP Comment Form (if attending virtually)

  • Use the hardcopy CEP Question/Comment Cards available at the facility registration table near the entrance
  • Comments will be added to the queue in order of receipt
  • Comments related to the meeting agenda topics—to the greatest extent possible—will be addressed / discussed during facilitated public dialogue
  • Dan Stetson and Marth McNicholas will facilitate

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.