Ariz. utility says won’t take nuclear waste from Palo Verde 🔓

California utility Southern California Edison (SCE) agreed Monday to seek a new home, possibly Arizona, for its nuclear waste, but Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) officials say they won’t take it.

APS operates Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix, Ariz., on behalf of its seven owners, and officials there said they will not agree to take fuel from California’s shuttered San Onofre Generating Station in north San Diego.

Such a move would require approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and APS won’t ask for that approval, making the proposal a dead end, officials said.

“We safely and securely store Palo Verde’s used fuel,” APS spokesman Jim McDonald told the Associated Press Monday. “We are not licensed to store used fuel from any other facility, and there is no initiative that makes sense to start the licensing process.”

Environmental group Citizens Oversight in 2015 sued the California Coastal Commission and SCE, concerned nuclear waste at the shuttered San Onofre facility stored on the coast posed a threat.

SCE and Citizens Oversight announced a settlement Monday in which the utility agreed to make efforts to relocate its waste to sites in New Mexico, Texas or to Palo Verde, AP reported.

The California utility agreed to convene a panel of experts to study moving the spent fuel somewhere else, and to spend no more than $4 million on the effort. It did not agree the fuel would be moved, only that it would investigate the feasibility of such action.

The environmental group has repeatedly suggested because SCE is a part owner of Palo Verde, the used fuel from California could be moved safely to that plant.

“The agreement plots a prudent strategy in furtherance of the goal of moving the fuel sooner than later,” said Ray Lutz of Citizens Oversight, in a statement, Kallanish Energy learns.

The waste from all U.S. nuclear reactors by law is supposed to go to a single waste repository, and for a time, Yucca Mountain in Nevada was that designated site. President Obama cut funding for that project, but President Trump has pushed to restart its development.

It would be years before any waste was brought to Yucca Mountain even if the project were to resume its prior level of funding and staffing from the federal government.

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