The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will meet with the public on Thursday, February 22, to discuss the licensing and regulatory program that will govern plans to change storage of spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Unit 1, from a spent fuel pool to a dry cask storage facility. Unit 1 was shutdown permanently in 1992, and is being dismantled and decontaminated at this time.
The meeting will be at the San Clemente Community Center, 100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente, beginning at 7 p.m. The session will start in the Ole Hanson room, where NRC officials will greet the public informally. At about 8 p.m., the meeting will move to the auditorium for presentations covering the NRC's role in licensing and regulating the proposed dry cask spent fuel storage system. There will be ample opportunity for questions from the public following the presentation.
NRC officials will be available for press interviews from 7-8 p.m., or after the meeting, which is expected to conclude no later than 11 p.m.
Spent nuclear fuel is the waste left when the fissionable uranium atoms in nuclear fuel have split to generate the intense heat that makes nuclear reactors possible. The waste is in the form of small ceramic pellets stacked inside long, cylindrical metal tubes called fuel rods. The rods are assembled in bundles containing as many as 196 rods each.
Spent fuel from SONGS, Unit 1, is currently kept in a spent fuel pool. However, since the plant is being dismantled, plant managers are seeking permission to move the spent fuel into an independent, dry spent fuel storage facility consisting of large steel and concrete containers. Dry cask storage is intended to be a temporary storage solution pending construction of a permanent repository that is the responsibility of the Department of Energy. DOE is investigating the suitability of a site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for construction of the permanent repository.