Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions – A Fresh Approach

Southern California Edison, along with the SONGS co-owners, launched an effort in 2017 to develop a framework for relocating the spent nuclear fuel now stored at SONGS to an offsite location.

This work is captured in a three-volume set of plans: the Action Plan, Strategic Plan and Conceptual Transportation Plan.

Currently, and until the spent fuel is relocated off site, it is securely stored in sealed stainless-steel canisters that are housed in reinforced concrete structures. SONGS has 123 such canisters.

SCE and our partners and stakeholders have a genuine opportunity to bring people together with a shared interest to prepare and advocate for the relocation of the spent fuel away from the coast. It is clear that to make tangible progress on this issue, the federal government must act. Rather than wait for this to happen, we are going to be a catalyst for change. - Kevin Payne, SCE president and CEO

Canister Download
A canister of spent nuclear fuel is safely stored at SONGS.

SCE embraced the opportunity to thoroughly explore the options, alternatives, and roadblocks to relocating the spent fuel at SONGS to a licensed off-site facility, rather than continue waiting for the federal government to deliver on its decades-overdue mandate to pick up and dispose of the fuel from commercial nuclear sites across the country.

To accomplish the task, SCE retained some of the leading experts in the country:

SCE's Experts Team, which is chaired by Tom Isaacs, former director, Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Waste Policy, and includes former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Allison Macfarlane, both of whom have expertise in spent fuel siting and licensing. Members of the team include nationally recognized leaders in radiation science, spent nuclear fuel transportation and nuclear engineering.

In June 2019, SCE retained North Wind, Inc. Subject matter experts with North Wind worked with SCE and the Experts Team to support the assessment of offsite alternatives and author the plans. Stakeholders from the local community and region were interviewed as part of the process. The results are available below in the three volumes of documents.

“These plans provide the opportunity to analyze three broad areas related to spent nuclear fuel removal. First, identifying the pathways, options and feasibility, both near term and long term, to relocate the fuel. Second, the transportation considerations to safely get from point A to point B. And third, the steps SCE must take to be prepared when the opportunity arises,” said Doug Bauder, SCE vice president and chief nuclear officer.

Find out more about each plan below:

The Action Plan

The Action Plan lays out near-term measures SCE and the San Onofre co-owners will take to advance offsite relocation of the spent fuel, and to be prepared to move the fuel should an opportunity arise.

Learn more about the Action Plan

The Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan identifies and analyzes a range of alternatives for spent fuel removal while making clear the challenges and needed actions for those alternatives to be realized.

Review the Strategic Plan

The Conceptual Transportation Plan

The Conceptual Transportation Plan focuses on specific steps and strategic considerations in planning for and executing the shipment of spent fuel from San Onofre to an offsite location, assumed to be in the Southwestern U.S.

Explore the Conceptual Transportation Plan