Southern California Edison (SCE) has filed an application with the California Coastal Commission for permission to expand the interim used nuclear fuel storage facility at the San Onofre nuclear plant in California, USA.

Currently two-thirds of the plant’s used fuel is stored on site in steel-lined, concrete storage pools known as wet storage while approximately one-third is already in dry storage.

The existing dry storage facility, approved in 2001, will soon reach its capacity, SCE said in its application. It anticipates a need for up to 80 more steel-and-concrete-encased canisters to complete transfer of the remaining fuel to dry storage.

SCE has selected below-ground dry fuel storage technology provided by Holtec International for the expansion project. Project approval is required before SCE can complete the transfer to dry storage, which is planned to be completed in 2019.

"Local community leaders and a wide range of stakeholders in California have told us they want San Onofre’s used nuclear fuel moved to dry storage as expeditiously as possible.

"We want to be responsive to that preference while continuing to safely manage this fuel until the federal government does its job and opens a used nuclear fuel repository," said Chris Thompson, SCE decommissioning vice president.

Photo: SONGs nuclear plant (Credit: SCE)