Coastal Commission OKs Dismantling of Former San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

The California Coastal Commission has unanimously approved a plan that includes removing the twin reactor domes at the San Onofre nuclear power plant north of San Diego.

In a public meeting Thursday, the commission approved Southern California Edison’s project, which is part of an effort to fully decommission the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station known as "SONGS"..

There was what was described as a shouting match during the meeting between some in the audience and the commission over the decision which some in the audience called the former nuke plant’s decommissioning plan “rushed and reckless.”

"We want to advance the project; it's good for the environment,” said Ron Pontes, Manager of Environmental Permitting for SONGS. “It's good for the people that live near the plant to remove the plant that’s there today. Those structures serve no purpose.”

Pontes said all facilities on the site that are no longer being used would be removed. The removal process includes the dismantling of all above-grade structures and the decontamination of what is left behind to meet NRC standards.

Many people say they are concerned about the spent nuclear waste removal, and there have been a number of lawsuits over concerns about the 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste and where that will go during this process. Activists filed a motion earlier this month where SoCal Edison would be obligated to remove the waste to a safe, more inland location. The demolition project on land owned by the U.S. Navy is expected to take up to a decade to complete.

(Photo credit Getty Images)

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