Until the federal government opens up a permanent repository for the 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste sitting about 100 feet from the tideline at San Onofre, it’s unlikely that it will go anywhere. But when that day does come, congressman Mike Levin (D) wants the waste off the beach as quickly as possible, and he’s introducing legislation with exactly that in mind.
Last week, Levin announced that he will introduce legislation to ensure that the federal government prioritizes the removal of San Onofre’s nuclear waste currently sitting onsite at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) whenever it decides where the rest of the nation’s spent fuel will go, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The freshman congressman’s proposed Spent Fuel Prioritization Bill would seek to give priority to nuclear waste from decommissioned plants located near dense population centers where earthquakes present a hazard, according to the Tribune. In other words, whenever the federal government finds a place to deposit hazardous nuclear waste, the bill would make sure that the waste from SONGS would be removed first–or at least put the facility’s material near the top of the queue.
While it’s a long way from actually removing the nuclear waste, Levin’s announcement is not nothing. The bill will have the support of Representative Harley Rouda (D), who is also the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Environment. And according to the Tribune, the two expressed optimism that the legislation would receive bipartisan support.
"This is not a partisan issue," said Rouda of the special threat that sites like SONGS present to the constituents in surrounding areas. "These sites are located in districts that are represented by Republicans and Democrats who have surrounding districts potentially affected by any negative outcomes that would occur."