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SCE to Brief Path Forward for Fuel Transfer Operations Restart

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Nov. 28, 2018 — Southern California Edison will preview the current schedule for resuming spent nuclear fuel transfer operations at the San Onofre nuclear plant at Thursday’s Community Engagement Panel meeting in Oceanside. Tom Palmisano, SCE vice president, will provide an overview of SCE’s efforts to strengthen the spent fuel storage program, which supports the January restart timeframe SCE is working toward.

SCE has committed to not restart spent fuel transfer operations until it is satisfied all corrective actions are in place and proven effective, the public has been briefed and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed its on-site inspection actions.

“We are very confident in the corrective measures we’ve taken to bolster our fuel transfer operations and avoid a reoccurrence of the August event,” Palmisano said. “By focusing on the January timeframe that should allow SCE, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to complete any remaining actions, complete essential dry runs and ensure we can proceed error-free.”

Fuel transfer operations at San Onofre have been on hold since Aug. 3. At that time, during the loading of a spent fuel canister into the Cavity Enclosure Container on the dry cask storage pad, the canister became wedged near the top of the container on an inner ring that helps to guide it into place. Slings that support the canister were lowered while the canister remained wedged. At no point during the incident was there a risk to employee or public safety.

During his presentation at the CEP meeting, Palmisano will also explain the enhancements made in several key areas of fuel transfer operations, including training, oversight, procedures and additional technology to aid in canister placement. That equipment includes cameras and load cells, devices that indicate whether tension is maintained on the slings supporting the weight of the canister.

“We were given an opportunity, through this event, to stop and improve our processes. We will continually look for ways to improve those processes until the last canister is in place,” Palmisano said.

To date, SCE has safely stored 29 Holtec UMAX spent nuclear fuel canisters at its on-site spent fuel storage installation. Each canister holds 37 fuel assemblies. The remaining spent nuclear fuel at San Onofre will fill 44 additional canisters. SCE should complete all fuel transfer operations in 2019.

The Community Engagement Panel meeting will also include a facilitated discussion on the Aug. 3 canister-loading event that will include questions submitted by the public.

About Southern California Edison

An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of approximately 15 million via 5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California. 

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