Edison-Connected Waste Site Given Fed License

By Published On: February 24, 2006

A nuclear fuel-storage consortium received a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission February 21. Private Fuel Storage, a consortium that includes Southern California Edison, intends to build a high-level “interim” waste storage facility in Utah. Edison, however, has said that it is no longer interested in the consortium and will not send its high-level radioactive waste to it—if it is developed. “We retain a small interest in the facility,” noted Edison spokesperson Gil Alexander. “With San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station licensed to store used fuel in dry casks temporarily we and other investor-owned utility members of PFS are not using it contingent on the Department of Energy making reasonable progress on the Yucca Mountain permanent storage location project.” The state of Utah has fought the facility, saying that it is too close to a military ordnance target site next door. However, the owners of the land, the Goshutes Tribe, have been keen on having the facility built as it may provide income to the poverty-stricken tribe. The facility is intended for temporary above-ground storage of up to 44,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel from U.S. commercial nuclear power plants, according to federal regulators. “Although the license is effective immediately, it does not authorize PFS to begin immediate construction of the facility. Rather, it conditions construction authorization on the company first arranging adequate funding. In addition, PFS must obtain necessary approvals from other agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Surface Transportation Board,” stated the NRC. The license is effective for 20 years.

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