Above: Jim Peattie, General Manager of Decommissioning Oversight at Southern California Edison, describes the dry storage process on March 18 at decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Photo by Jordan P. Ingram
REGION — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on May 21 that Southern California Edison and its contractors can safely resume fuel-loading operations at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
The decision came after the NRC issued a $116,000 civil penalty to Edison and temporarily suspended operations at the site following a Aug. 3, 2018, near-miss canister incident.
Information about the incident and the NRC’s response is available on the NRC website.
The NRC made its determination following a review of technical data submitted by Edison regarding the possible effects of scratching on spent fuel canisters during fuel loading operations.
Edison called the NRC’s decision an “important milestone in the ultimate journey to permanent offsite storage of the spent nuclear fuel.”
“Since the event on Aug. 3, 2018, SCE and its contractor have performed a comprehensive review of spent nuclear fuel transfer operations and created a more robust program through better procedures, better training and more intrusive oversight.”
Some of the changes include the addition of cameras and load-monitoring equipment.
Edison also stated that they have completed visual assessments of eight fuel canisters to examine any contact between the cask and the canister during the loading process.
Critics of the Holtec Hi-Storm Umax dry storage system have raised concerns that incidental contact could “scratch” or “gouge” the stainless steel canisters, leading to radioactive leaks and explosions.
“The incidental contact that may occur during the canister downloading, as the NRC recently re-affirmed, poses no impact to the safe storage of spent fuel,” said Edison in a statement.
Members of the public will have an opportunity to submit written comments and questions via the webinar user interface following a presentation by NRC officials
The NRC will hold a virtual public meeting/webinar from 12 to 1 p.m. on June 3. and will provide participation guidance during the webinar.
Interested members of the public should register for the webinar on the NRC website