Solana Beach council expected to revisit San Onofre resolution

In this 2011 file photo, people walk on the sand near the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente.
In this 2011 file photo, people walk on the sand near the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente.
(Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

In response to public pressure, the Solana Beach City Council is expected to reconsider a resolution it approved in mid-June addressing safety at the defunct San Onofre nuclear power plant.

Among various demands, the resolution approved June 12 calls on the state Legislature and governor to address concerns about the safe handling and storage of radioactive materials at the shorefront property 40 miles north of Solana Beach and next to Camp Pendleton.

The resolution also demands that authorities relocate the waste to a safer spot away from the coast as quickly as possible.

At the request of activists, the council added a statement to the resolution that calls for the state to stop plant owner Southern California Edison from continuing to store nuclear waste in canisters with thin walls that are alleged to be vulnerable to cracking and leaking.

However, the addition failed to appease area residents who want the city to adopt a stronger position.

In the council’s June 26 meeting, six adults and two children appeared during the open comment segment to voice support for a more powerful statement, given the threat of the radioactive material to the region.

“What the public doesn’t understand is these canisters are being stranded on the beach,” said resident Torgen Johnson, a longtime activist monitoring San Onofre.

He and other observers advocate for the storage of the radioactive wastes in casks that are 10 inches to 20 inches thicker than the canisters now being used, which have walls less than an inch thick.

Johnson and Solana Beach Mayor David Zito are members of a task force formed by U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, (D-San Juan Capistrano) to study what to do with the highly volatile waste material stored at the San Onofre station since it shut down in 2013.

Johnson and other activists contend the radioactive material being stored at San Onofre is more than 1,000 times more potentially destructive than the atomic bomb that the U.S. armed forces dropped on Hiroshima in World War II.

Because the comments on June 26 were delivered during the oral comment period, council members were not permitted to take direct action.

A couple of council members, however, urged the staff to bring the issue back to the council at its meeting in July.