Continued Safe Storage of Used Nuclear Fuel
San Onofre, like nuclear power plants throughout the United States, has a process for safely managing and storing used nuclear fuel and protecting workers, the public and the environment. San Onofre safely stores used nuclear fuel on site using a combination of technologies: enclosed, steel-lined pools (spent fuel pools) and sealed stainless steel canisters that are housed in reinforced concrete structures (dry cask storage).
The Path Forward
After halting spent nuclear fuel transfer operations following the Aug. 3, 2018, canister loading incident, the SONGS team is contuining to move spent fuel from wet to dry storage.
SCE is safely and securely storing used nuclear fuel at San Onofre on an interim basis in steel-lined pools and robust concrete structures. The ultimate disposition of the fuel for all commercial nuclear power plants is, by law, the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Energy. However, the federal government does not currently have such a facility. So the fuel will remain on site until the federal government identifies a facility and puts in place a program for the fuel’s disposal. Until then, SCE is responsible for its safe storage with strict oversight from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the same time, SCE is being proactive in seeking out options for the relocation of the fuel, including an off-site facility.
Dry Cask Storage
Currently, about one-third of San Onofre’s used nuclear fuel is in dry storage. Now that San Onofre is permanently retired, Southern California Edison (SCE) is in the process of transferring all of the used nuclear fuel into dry cask storage by mid-2019.
Transferring Fuel from Wet to Dry Storage
Learn about the meticulous process SCE and the nuclear industry follows to load used nuclear fuel into robust steel canisters and transfer to dry storage.
The chairman of the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel (CEP), David Victor, has taken a strong leadership role advocating for off-site storage of San Onofre's used nuclear fuel, as well as several other local elected officials. SCE is aligned with the community’s desire to find a long-term storage facility for its fuel.