May 24, 2019

Representative Introduces Legislation to Prioritize San Onofre for Spent Nuclear Fuel Removal

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced the Spent Fuel Prioritization Act to prioritize the removal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from decommissioned nuclear sites in areas with large populations and high seismic hazard. With over nine million people living within 50 miles of the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS), and Southern California experiencing some of the greatest seismic hazard in the country, the bill would make SONGS one of the highest priority sites in the nation for SNF removal.

“The spent nuclear fuel at San Onofre faces unique and precarious challenges, with millions of people living nearby, active fault lines running through the region, and rising sea levels,” said Representative Levin. “My top priority is protecting my constituents from a potential accident at San Onofre, and the safest thing for the communities I represent is to remove spent nuclear fuel from the region quickly and safely. This legislation would take a clear-eyed approach to spent nuclear fuel removal by prioritizing areas with large populations and high seismic hazard, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this commonsense legislation.”

The Spent Fuel Prioritization Act would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to prioritize the removal of SNF from nuclear power plants based on the size of the population near the plant and seismic hazard associated with the area. The bill would add this requirement to the codified Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA). The bill does not favor a permanent repository or consolidated interim storage, and does not authorize the transfer of spent fuel to any non-consenting state or locality.

The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA), Katie Porter (D-CA), Harley Rouda (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Susan Davis (D-CA), and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR).

Representative Levin has been a longtime advocate for increased transparency, accountability, and oversight at SONGS and for solutions to move the hazardous waste at San Onofre out of the region. One of Representative Levin’s first actions as a Member of Congress was to launch a task force made up of local stakeholders and experts to address the safety challenges at SONGS and formulate federal policy recommendations to address the hazardous waste. The task force is led by Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering Sr., USN (Ret), and former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko.