Del Mar council passes resolution supporting long-term solution for San Onofre

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

The Del Mar City Council approved a resolution Feb. 22 in support of finding a long-term solution to store the nuclear waste at San Onofre.

The council has adopted similar resolutions over the years. The latest one “reaffirms the city’s position to support the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel at SONGS,” according to a report by Del Mar Mayor Dwight Worden and City Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland.

“To put it mildly, there are a lot of risks and worries there should the canisters leak, how we monitor them,” Worden said during the meeting. “I think everybody, including Edison, agrees it isn’t great to have them where they are. And the real fault here to the extent there is real fault lies with the federal government.”

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which is owned by Southern California Edison, discontinued power generating operations nearly 10 years ago. The federal government is responsible for the long-term storage of nuclear waste, but no plan is yet in place.

“There’s no medium-term solution that’s actually in place, and there’s certainly no long-term solution,” Worden said.

A proposed site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, has been discussed for years but has always been met with pushback from residents of the state. The most recent development was in February 2020, when then-President Trump announced he would no longer pursue Yucca Mountain as an option even though he had been seeking funding for it.

U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, launched a task force during his first term in Congress that produced a report on policy recommendations for San Onofre. He has also introduced legislation that would implement more safety measures.

Del Mar council members said they want to maintain public awareness.

“It is within our power to state our position that there are people at risk, this stuff is dangerous, it should be relocated into interim storage and eventual long-term storage as soon as possible,” Worden said.