Fuel Transfer Operations Update - Dec 18, 2019

Southern Californian Edison is currently in the process of moving spent nuclear fuel from wet storage to dry storage. To date, 43 canisters have been safely placed into the Holtec dry fuel storage system at SONGS, with 30 canisters remaining. All canisters are expected to be stored by the middle of next year.

Since re-starting fuel transfer operations in July, we've been providing periodic updates on the campaign (see previous updates here, here and here). These updates serve to inform stakeholders and the public on our progress, and more importantly, to demonstrate the comprehensive changes made during our 11-month pause continue to guide us in being safe and successful.

Canister 43 Safely Stored

Canister 43 12 12 2019 2
Canister #43 is moved from the fuel handling building to the dry fuel storage pad during the day on Thursday, Dec. 12.
Canister 43 12 12 2019
Canister #43 is positioned and ready for download into its storage vault, which happened later in the evening of Dec. 12.

During fuel transfer operations there continues to be a focus on safety. Employees have a low threshold for use of the Corrective Action Program, which helps us to identify issues and track them, and helps with continuous learning. Teamwork is strong and is reflective of the successful downloads, as well as good communication on the pad during downloading.

We continue to look at our procedures and make changes when necessary to improve performance.

There have been no serious safety or human performance issues since the re-start of fuel transfer operations. Following his observation of a download, plant manager Lou Bosch praised the work of the cask loading supervisor, and noted strong communication by members of the crew, and good procedure compliance overall. One more canister will be downloaded later this week before the crew breaks for the holidays.


Watch the Community Engagement Panel fuel transfer operations update below:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Conducts Inspections

From July through September, personnel from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have been on site nine times for unannounced inspections. The visits were captured in an inspection report released Nov. 22 and available here. As the report indicates, the NRC documented one Severity Level IV violation, indicating low safety significance.

The inspections focused on fuel transfer operations at SONGS. "(T)he NRC Inspectors conducted unannounced on-site inspections to evaluate the classroom training, pre-operational training exercises, and a significant number of fuel loading, processing, and dry cask storage transfer evolutions. The NRC inspectors concluded the corrective actions were effectively implemented to ensure the safe transfer of spent fuel to the site's ISFSI (independent spent fuel storage installation)."

Further unannounced inspections by the NRC have taken place since September.