San Onofre’s nuclear reactors are permanently shut down. However, Southern California Edison has left tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste that will remain on site for decades, if not longer. San Onofre’s spent fuel contains 89 times the amount of radiation (Cesium-137) released from Chernobyl. What is being done to rectify this situation?
According to the LA Times, experts peg the immediate cost at $4.7 billion to pay for utility investments, replacement power and ongoing maintenance relating to the early shutdown of two reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. A proposed settlement would initially apportion the costs so that $3.3 billion would be covered by ratepayers and $1.4 billion by utility shareholders.
In coming years, an additional $4 billion-plus will be needed to remove radioactive materials and demolish the plant safely.
According to San Onofre Safety, we have no approved method to safely store high burnup fuel [twice as radioactive low enriched uranium, approved for use over a decade ago] in dry casks for more than 20 years. And there is no approved method to safely transport high burnup fuel waste. This fuel is so hot, it must cool in the spent fuel pools years longer than lower burnup fuel. Edison plans to store high burnup fuel in a new model dry cask that would make it even more dangerous.
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