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Fuel rods must be canned

Greens to San Onofre — extra precautions needed on nuclear waste storage

Local environmental activist group San Clemente Green has launched a new petition aimed at pushing former San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station operator Southern California Edison into taking additional steps to secure highly radioactive waste from the plant that's expected to remain on site for anywhere between the next 30 and 600 years.

The crux of the group's argument is that nuclear waste in the form of spent fuel rods from the plant should be "canned" in stainless steel tubes before being interred in concrete dry cask storage, into which fuel rods are placed after a minimum five years' cooling-off period in pools with constantly circulating water. At present, only waste considered "damaged" is set aside for such treatment, though environmentalists contend that any "high burnup" fuel of the type used in San Onofre's later years should qualify for extra precautions.

"We call on Edison and the panelists to schedule their first public workshop to include independent nuclear experts. Independent experts are more likely to make recommendations based on safety — not profits," a portion of the petition reads. "Edison should not spend a penny of our decommissioning money until these recommendations are considered."

Proposed dry cask storage is only rated for 40 years' protection for standard nuclear waste and 20 years for high-burnup fuel, San Clemente Green claims. Further, to date no approved transportation method exists for removal of the existing high-burnup fuel at San Onofre.

"If we allow nuclear waste to be stored in dry casks that begin to fail in twenty years, it might be impossible to transport or even retrieve the waste for reloading," warns San Clemente Green.

The online petition has gathered over 450 signatures as of March 31.

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Local environmental activist group San Clemente Green has launched a new petition aimed at pushing former San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station operator Southern California Edison into taking additional steps to secure highly radioactive waste from the plant that's expected to remain on site for anywhere between the next 30 and 600 years.

The crux of the group's argument is that nuclear waste in the form of spent fuel rods from the plant should be "canned" in stainless steel tubes before being interred in concrete dry cask storage, into which fuel rods are placed after a minimum five years' cooling-off period in pools with constantly circulating water. At present, only waste considered "damaged" is set aside for such treatment, though environmentalists contend that any "high burnup" fuel of the type used in San Onofre's later years should qualify for extra precautions.

"We call on Edison and the panelists to schedule their first public workshop to include independent nuclear experts. Independent experts are more likely to make recommendations based on safety — not profits," a portion of the petition reads. "Edison should not spend a penny of our decommissioning money until these recommendations are considered."

Proposed dry cask storage is only rated for 40 years' protection for standard nuclear waste and 20 years for high-burnup fuel, San Clemente Green claims. Further, to date no approved transportation method exists for removal of the existing high-burnup fuel at San Onofre.

"If we allow nuclear waste to be stored in dry casks that begin to fail in twenty years, it might be impossible to transport or even retrieve the waste for reloading," warns San Clemente Green.

The online petition has gathered over 450 signatures as of March 31.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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