Southern California Edison (SCE) would like the world to know that all the radioactive fuel has been removed from the doomed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station's Unit 2 reactor.
We here at OC Weekly, the newspaper that predicted the plant would shut down just a few days before the news broke, are happy to help.
On Tuesday, SCE, which is the majority owner of the troubled plant, sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officially alerting them that the fuel had been removed, following a similar letter sent regarding the Unit 3 reactor on June 28. Once the letter has been processed by the NRC, the company will no longer possess an operating license for SONGS, but rather only a “possession” license.
SCE says 217 fuel assemblies were moved from the Unit 2 reactor to the spent fuel pools inside the plant by July 18. They will remain there for five years and then, once (somewhat) cooled, placed in dry cask storage for many more years and perhaps decades until the United States comes up with a long-term underground storage site for radioactive waste.
“While we have safely performed this kind of defueling work for four decades, the final removal of fuel from the Unit 2 reactor marks a significant milestone in San Onofre's history,” Pete Dietrich, SCE senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, announced in a company press release. “We are committed to remaining focused on public health and safety as we transition through decommissioning.”