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Lawsuit over internal records of 2018 ‘near miss’ at San Onofre nuclear plant moves forward

Case dates back to ‘serious near-miss’ incident involving a canister filled with nuclear waste.

San Diego Union-Tribune BY ROB NIKOLEWSKI, MARCH 7, 2023

A lawsuit seeking the release of internal communications surrounding an incident nearly five years ago at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will continue after a ruling Monday by a federal judge in San Diego.

U.S. District Judge John A. Houston turned down a motion by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to toss out the case brought by San Diego attorney Michael Aguirre.

The judge also determined that while the NRC was within its rights to redact some documents it had previously released, the federal regulator “has not provided sufficient evidence” to show that it made a reasonable effort to search for documents requested by Aguirre under the Freedom of Information Act.

The case is “still alive,” Aguirre said of the judge’s decision. “We’re going to keep digging hard to find the documents that will hopefully inform the public about what happened.”

A spokesman for the NRC said the commission is reviewing the judge’s order and had no comment to make on it.

The case dates to Aug. 3, 2018, when workers at the plant operated by Southern California Edison were transferring canisters filled with highly radioactive spent fuel from storage pools to a newly constructed dry storage facility at the north end of the plant. During the transfers, each canister is lowered into a protected vertical cavity.

Operators thought they had successfully lowered one particular canister but discovered it instead got stuck on the inner ring of the cavity, left unsupported by support rigging, about 18 feet from the floor of the enclosure. Eventually, the canister was safely deposited…………………………………………………………………………………………

Some 3.55 million pounds of radioactive spent fuel is kept at the storage facilities at the plant because — as is the case at nuclear plants across the country — the federal government has not found a permanent repository to store the roughly 86,000 metric tons of spent fuel that has built up over the decades at the nation’s commercial nuclear facilities.


March 24, 2023 - Posted by | Legal, USA

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