Strategic Plan for Relocating SONGS' Spent Nuclear Fuel
Southern California Edison retained North Wind, Inc. on June 13, 2019, to develop a strategic plan that will assess the feasibility of relocating spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre nuclear plant to a commercially reasonable, off-site facility.
SCE is committed to the safe, secure storage of spent nuclear fuel, recognizing that efforts to relocate San Onofre’s spent nuclear fuel off-site must proceed in a thoughtful, forward-thinking and responsible way, ensuring that relevant interests are recognized and heard. Moving San Onofre’s spent nuclear fuel off-site is a top priority for SCE, as is safely managing the fuel while it is on-site. There is currently no federally licensed facility to receive spent nuclear fuel from a commercial nuclear energy site.
The North Wind consultants will work in concert with SCE and its Experts Team (see below), which will support development of the strategic plan by reviewing North Wind’s work, which will wrap up in December 2020 with the publication of the plan. The Experts Team is chaired by Tom Isaacs, former Department of Energy Office of Policy director, and includes former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Allison Macfarlane, both of whom have expertise in spent fuel siting and licensing, as well as nationally recognized leaders in radiation science, spent nuclear fuel transportation and nuclear engineering. North Wind will also engage with a broad range of stakeholders to learn their preferences and attitudes about spent nuclear fuel and its eventual disposition.
“SCE looks forward to the development of a strategic plan that brings us closer to long-term solutions for moving spent nuclear fuel off-site,” said Kevin Walker, SCE senior vice president for Customer Service and Nuclear. “The North Wind team is uniquely qualified to lead this effort and provide a roadmap that will benefit the local community, SCE customers, other stakeholders and the nuclear energy industry overall.”
To develop the strategic plan, North Wind assembled a team of experts possessing many decades of experience with spent nuclear fuel. The team has a depth of expertise in all aspects of this work, including policy and legal analysis, regulatory strategies and compliance, stakeholder engagement, fuel handling and transportation logistics and commercial and financial analysis. Former Energy secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz will lend his considerable expertise to developing the strategic plan.
SCE is optimistic that the strategic plan will set forth practical steps that SCE can and will take to support efforts to relocate San Onofre spent fuel to an off-site, licensed facility. The strategic plan is not a decision-making document that will identify a single preferred solution, but rather will consider a range of alternatives for offsite storage/disposal and recommend actions that SCE can take to:
- advance viable solutions for re-locating spent fuel off-site from SONGS,
- be ready to transport once a site becomes available, and
- advance policy and regulations to promote off-site storage/disposal.
Meet the Experts Team
Tom Isaacs – Siting and Licensing, Chair
Former Director, Office of Policy within the U.S. DOE
Mr. Isaacs is a well‐recognized national and international leader in the field of nuclear energy, nuclear waste management, nuclear security, repository siting, and public trust and confidence. He is a senior advisor to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a U.S. NGO, where he works with senior nuclear representatives from Pacific Rim countries on cooperation on fuel cycle and waste management issues. He is also a long‐ time advisor to the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) on the management and storage of Canada’s SNF. He is a former member of the National Academy of Sciences Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board.
Mr. Isaacs has had significant leadership positions in nuclear waste management for more than 30 years. He was instrumental in: the siting of the Yucca Mountain candidate repository site; the passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1987 that defined the U.S. waste program; the development of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future (BRC) report, written at the direction of the President of the United States, that recommended the path forward for the U.S. nuclear waste program; and the strategic approach currently being implemented by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Canada to manage and dispose of spent fuel.
Dr. Allison Macfarlane ‐ Siting and Licensing
Former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
An internationally‐recognized expert on nuclear waste disposal, nuclear energy, and regulation, with more than 20 years of experience in the field. A former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a former Commissioner with the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, which developed a national strategy for dealing with the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Dr. Macfarlane possesses extensive knowledge and experience with storage, siting, and transportation of spent nuclear fuel. She has published numerous peer‐reviewed papers and an edited book on spent fuel storage issues. Her research has focused on the safety issues associated with spent fuel storage at reactor sites.
While Commissioner with the Blue Ribbon Commission, she developed a deeper expertise on storage, transport, and siting issues, not only in the US, but in other countries as well. During her time as chairman of the NRC, she dealt with the regulatory side of storage, transport, and disposal of spent fuel. As Blue Ribbon Commissioner, as well as NRC Chairman, she engaged extensively with public interest groups, community members, nuclear workers, the nuclear industry, and local, state, tribal, and federal government officials.
Dr. Josephine Piccone – Radiation Detection & Monitoring
Former Certified U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Reviewer / Inspector, 1985 – 2015 A U.S. Government representative to the IAEA Radiation Safety Standards Advisory Committee (RASSC)
Dr. Piccone has more than 40 years of public and private sector nuclear safety experience in operational health physics, radiation control and regulation, the roles and oversight responsibilities of the NRC and Agreement States, and licensee regulatory compliance.
Dr. Piccone provided senior‐level management, radiation protection expertise and practical experience to the licensing, inspection, and regulatory oversight of source, byproduct and special nuclear material; spent nuclear fuel and high‐level nuclear waste; and storage, transportation and disposal of low‐level waste; and private sector radiation safety and nuclear medicine programs.
Dr. Piccone has served as U.S. Government representative to the IAEA Radiation Safety Standards Committee and worked extensively in the development of more than ten IAEA documents related to radiation protection in waste management, medical, and industrial applications.
Richard C. Moore – Spent Fuel Transportation
Western Interstate Energy Board Consultant supporting High Level Nuclear Waste Committee
Retained by Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) to assist their High Level Nuclear Waste Committee develop proposed policies on spent nuclear fuel transportation. The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) has retained his services for many projects related to radiological materials transportation.
Involved in setting policy at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) as a representative for the State of Wyoming on the WGA Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Transportation Advisory Group, Mr. Moore also was the lead author on the initial version of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Transportation Safety Program Implementation Guide. The Guide has served as the model for transportation of radiological materials throughout the United States. Assisted the DOE Carlsbad (N.M.) Field Office with the first revision to the Transportation Plan for WIPP Shipments to reflect the requirements of the Guide.
Conducted the first full scale exercise of a shipment of highly radioactive Cesium‐137 capsules from Northglenn, Co. to the Hanford site (Washington state) for the DOE. Worked with the Blue Ribbon Commission and prepared a report on the relationship between state and federal governments on permitting issues, including transportation.
J. Gary Lanthrum ‐ Spent Fuel Transportation
Principal Engineer with Radiation Material Transportation and Storage Consulting (RAMTASC)
Mr. Lanthrum possesses extensive experience and expertise in developing national policy and operational plans for transport of all the commercial spent nuclear fuel from the power plants where it was generated to Yucca Mountain.
As Director of the National Transportation Program for the Yucca Mountain repository, he oversaw policy on the use of specific transportation systems, policy on funding and technical support to states along the transportation corridors, and security vulnerability assessments and impact mitigations for those shipments. His office also developed a detailed concept of operations and advanced transportation infrastructure by completing Environmental Impact Statements for a rail corridor in Nevada, and developing standard transportation casks and canister specifications.
Notable policy decisions developed by his office included the direction to use dedicated trains for rail shipments and a draft policy for providing emergency response training funds and technical assistance to states and tribes along spent fuel transportation corridors.
Kristopher W. Cummings, M.S. – Nuclear Engineering
Principal Engineer with Curtiss‐Wright Nuclear Division‐NETCO
Recognized within the nuclear industry for his experience in wet and dry storage systems, providing both technical and regulatory expertise. As senior project manager in fuel and decommissioning at the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), he provided policy and strategic direction to the nuclear industry in the areas of nuclear fuel, dry cask storage, spent fuel pool storage, spent fuel management, consolidated interim storage and spent fuel disposal.
Mr. Cummings developed industry guidance in areas of spent fuel criticality; coordinated industry response to NRC Generic Letter 16‐01 on Neutron Absorber Monitoring Programs in Spent Fuel Storage Racks; coordinated and led the nuclear industry in developing strategic approaches to achieve an efficient and reliable regulatory framework for dry cask storage and transportation; developed a regulatory framework for dry cask storage license renewal in conjunction with NRC, EPRI and the nuclear industry; and developed and presented industry positions on policy and regulatory positions to industry and public stakeholders.
Experienced with garnering regulatory approval of spent fuel storage systems and spent fuel storage racks and supporting design, siting and licensing activities for site‐specific ISFSIs with federal, state and local regulatory authorities.
The North Wind Team (Leads)
SONGS Strategic Plan Project Director
PHILLIP NIEDZIELSKI-EICHNER - Mr. Niedzielski-Eichner is a senior executive with 40 years of private and public sector professional experience, including senior executive service appointments in the U.S. Departments of Energy, and its National Nuclear Security Administration, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. His career includes government and corporate strategic, policy, program, and project leadership, with a particular focus on: the nuclear fuel cycle, including spent fuel and nuclear materials management, the nuclear deterrent, nuclear nonproliferation and counterterrorism, nuclear clean-up and environmental stewardship. He is a national expert on the history of U.S. efforts to find a storage and disposal solution to spent nuclear fuel and defense nuclear waste.
SONGS Strategic Plan Project Manager
ELIZABETH HELVEY - Ms. Helvey, a nationally recognized expert on the state and tribal role in transporting spent nuclear fuel, has an extensive background in policy analysis, strategic planning, and negotiation of public policy disputes regarding transport of nuclear waste and siting of nuclear facilities. She has more than twenty years of experience advising on inter-governmental relations, working with state, tribal, and federal agencies, corporate entities, professional organizations, and citizens to help resolve technically-complex and politically controversial public policy issues.
Read more about the North Wind team here.
The Experts Team, North Wind and Southern California Edison