There could be settlement talks in a lawsuit protesting the proposed burial of San Onofre nuclear waste 100 feet from the ocean near the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant.
San Diego-based Citizens Oversight sued the Coastal Commission for giving permission for burial of 3.6 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean and inches above the high water mark. Among many things, global warming could move the ocean inland and an earthquake could cause havoc, argues Ray Lutz, head of Citizens Oversight.
The idea "is insane," says Lutz.
San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson, who represent Citizens Oversight, called the proposal "an absurd plan" in a filing in the case last year.
Southern California Edison, majority owner of the now-shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant, along with Aguirre and Severson, today (April 7) asked a Superior Court judge to postpone a hearing in the case April 14 so that there can be settlement discussions.
"We believe the parties in the case and many community leaders share a common goal to transfer San Onofre's used nuclear fuel off-site as soon as reasonably possible," said Tom Palmisano, Edison vice president and chief nuclear officer. "We are hopeful that settlement discussions will permit the parties to reach a mutually agreeable solution."
This is a matter of strange bedfellows. Aguirre and Severson have been battling Edison for years. The two lawyers traced the secret cooperation of Edison and the state utilities commission in coming up with a plan to get ratepayers to shell out money for the closing of San Onofre.
In a case now at the appellate level, Aguirre and Severson argue that the plan to soak ratepayers was a violation of the Fifth Amendment. They say that Edison and the commission concocted a scheme forcing consumers to pay for electricity that they are not getting. That violates the concept of "just compensation," the San Diego lawyers argue.