Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) joined 339 of his colleagues to permit the Department of Energy to begin disposal of millions of pounds of nuclear waste from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in San Diego. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act authorizes the first transfer of nuclear waste to permanent storage in the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, a secure site in Nevada that would allow for safe storage.
The SONGS site is sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean, one of the biggest bodies of water in the world, and Interstate 5, one of the nation’s most traveled freeways. The area is home to 8 million residents.
“We need long-term solutions to nuclear waste storage, especially in San Diego, where nuclear-spent fuel is stored just yards away from the ocean,” said Rep. Peters. “For too long, Congress has stalled on ensuring our nuclear storage is secure. I advocated for the inclusion of interim storage measures in this bill because nuclear waste should not be left to accumulate near cities and environmentally sensitive areas. This bill finally takes steps to move spent fuel from sensitive areas like San Onofre to a long-term federal facility.”
Rep. Peters continued, “As sea levels rise due to climate change, the risk to existing storage at SONGS will only increase. This bipartisan legislation is our best chance to mitigate a crisis.”
Last year, Rep. Peters offered an amendment in the Energy and Commerce meeting on nuclear waste to direct efforts to free up spent nuclear fuel and place it in interim storage and helped pass the bill though the committee. During his time as an environmental lawyer, Rep. Peters worked to ensure that organizations were in compliance with toxic waste storage. Since becoming a member of Congress, Rep. Peters has helped pass a series of bills that enhance nuclear energy technology.