Settlement talks possible in San Onofre lawsuit

Even Edison wonders if nuclear waste should be buried near ocean

San Onofre dry storage casks
  • San Onofre dry storage casks

There could be settlement talks in a lawsuit protesting the proposed burial of San Onofre nuclear waste 100 feet from the ocean near the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant.

Citizens Oversight kite flown near site of nuclear waste dump

Citizens Oversight kite flown near site of nuclear waste dump

San Diego-based Citizens Oversight sued the Coastal Commission for giving permission for burial of 3.6 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean and inches above the high water mark. Among many things, global warming could move the ocean inland and an earthquake could cause havoc, argues Ray Lutz, head of Citizens Oversight.

The idea "is insane," says Lutz.

San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson, who represent Citizens Oversight, called the proposal "an absurd plan" in a filing in the case last year.

Map of storage site next to the ocean

Map of storage site next to the ocean

Southern California Edison, majority owner of the now-shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant, along with Aguirre and Severson, today (April 7) asked a Superior Court judge to postpone a hearing in the case April 14 so that there can be settlement discussions.

"We believe the parties in the case and many community leaders share a common goal to transfer San Onofre's used nuclear fuel off-site as soon as reasonably possible," said Tom Palmisano, Edison vice president and chief nuclear officer. "We are hopeful that settlement discussions will permit the parties to reach a mutually agreeable solution."

This is a matter of strange bedfellows. Aguirre and Severson have been battling Edison for years. The two lawyers traced the secret cooperation of Edison and the state utilities commission in coming up with a plan to get ratepayers to shell out money for the closing of San Onofre.

In a case now at the appellate level, Aguirre and Severson argue that the plan to soak ratepayers was a violation of the Fifth Amendment. They say that Edison and the commission concocted a scheme forcing consumers to pay for electricity that they are not getting. That violates the concept of "just compensation," the San Diego lawyers argue.

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If Mike Aguirre succeeds in this matter, he will be our Local Hero. Such a long slog, such intransigent and powerful adversaries -- corporate and political -- such an important issue at stake. It's hard to believe he will prevail in these unfriendly times, but it is possible. I am keeping hope alive!

monaghan: Yes, Aguirre tried to rein in corporate plutocrats when he was city attorney, and the U-T smeared him irresponsibly and dispitieously. He lost the election to an establishment toady, and now has done a great job fighting for utility ratepayers, Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy: Edison will stop at nothing. I hope they agree to something sane if there are negotiations. Best, Don Bauder

negotiations, or stalling while the construction continues ( kind of sounds like the pipeline song and dance)

Murphyjunk: You are wise to suspect that the negotiations are just part of a stall strategy by Edison. I hope you are wrong, but I appreciate your wisdom. Best, Don Bauder

Jay Price: Earthquakes, global warming, and other factors will have that spent nucear fuel under water in time. Southern California Edison is a company in which irresponsibility and dishonesty are admired traits in employees. Best, Don Bauder

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