SoCal Edison Officially Retires San Onofre Nuke Plant Operating License

Categories: Environment

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Southern California Edison (SCE) would like the world to know that all the radioactive fuel has been removed from the doomed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station's Unit 2 reactor.

We here at OC Weekly, the newspaper that predicted the plant would shut down just a few days before the news broke, are happy to help.

On Tuesday, SCE, which is the majority owner of the troubled plant, sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officially alerting them that the fuel had been removed, following a similar letter sent regarding the Unit 3 reactor on June 28. Once the letter has been processed by the NRC, the company will no longer possess an operating license for SONGS, but rather only a "possession" license.

SCE says 217 fuel assemblies were moved from the Unit 2 reactor to the spent fuel pools inside the plant by July 18. They will remain there for five years and then, once (somewhat) cooled, placed in dry cask storage for many more years and perhaps decades until the United States comes up with a long-term underground storage site for radioactive waste.

"While we have safely performed this kind of defueling work for four decades, the final removal of fuel from the Unit 2 reactor marks a significant milestone in San Onofre's history," Pete Dietrich, SCE senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, announced in a company press release. "We are committed to remaining focused on public health and safety as we transition through decommissioning."

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San Onofre uses high burnup fuel, which must stay in the pool for more than 7 years.  Maybe even 12 years according to an Edison employee.  Also, the GAO and other government and scientific sources say the high burnup fuel is hotter and more unstable and they don't know how it will react after storage in dry casks.  Even though the NRC approved the use of this enriched uranium about 16 years ago, they did not and do not have a good storage solution for it. See details at

Nat Richards
Nat Richards

"Oh, we'll all go together when we go. All suffused with an incandescent glow. When the air becomes uranious, we will all go simultaneous. Yes we will all go together when we gooooooo." ~ From a song by Prof. Tom Leher

Mike MacDuffee
Mike MacDuffee

Still gonna be chillin there for years/decades until they find a loooooooooooooong term location to store all that radioactive waste. I think they are digging a grave in the rockies somewhere.

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