The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will be removing radioactive fuel from the downed Unit 3 reactor in anticipation of its long-term outage, according Southern California Edison.
The plant has been, when a small leak of radioactive steam revealed that both sets of steam generators at the plant were The fuel will be moved from the reactor to a spent fuel pool, where other radioactive waste sits cooling in a controlled water solution, according to the San Onofre officials. The onsite storage of radioactive waste is a practice that the San Clemente City Council, Congress and the federal courts have sought to end.
Several thousand tons of spent fuel and other radioactive waste is already stored on-site and has been for decades. The spent fuel still emits large amounts of heat at first, which is why it must be stored in water for a couple years before being moved to concrete encasements called dry casks.
Though still not a permanent waste storage solution, dry casks are safer than fuel pools. The last year adopted a resolution calling for waste in pools at San Onofre to be moved to dry casks and for a permanent storage place for the existing waste.
Decades worth of efforts in the U.S. Congress to build a permanent nuclear dump under Yucca Mountain in Nevada have stalled because of the vehement opposition of those who live near there.
Just this summer, federal courts ruled that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission couldn't build or relicense any plants until the feds found a permanent waste dump.
In the meantime, SCE officials are still trying to reactivate the reactor. that technicians are working to restart Unit 2, pending the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's approval to run the unit at partial power.
Engineers aren't sure how to repair the more heavily damaged Unit 3, however, executives said on the earnings call.