Southern California Edison, operator of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, on March 15 released a strategic plan for relocating the shuttered plant's spent nuclear fuel and launched a national coalition to pressure the federal government to find a permanent repository for waste stored on-site at SONGS and every nuclear power plant in the country.

Strategies for moving the spent fuel off the coast at San Onofre State Beach are outlined in the three-part plan.

The utility is partnering with Orange and San Diego counties, the City of Riverside and San Diego Gas & Electric to form the stakeholder coalition, Action for Spent Fuel Solutions Now, to pressure the federal government to make good on its overdue promise to find a permanent resting place for the nation's spent nuclear fuel. The coalition includes local governments, business and labor leaders, Native American leaders, environmental groups and community members, according to a news release.

The U.S. Department of Energy has paid billions of dollars in storage costs to plant operators since 1998, its own failed deadline to open a permanent repository. "It is clear that to make tangible progress on this issue, the federal government must act. Rather than wait for this to happen, we are going to be a catalyst for change," SCE President and CEO Kevin Payne said in the release. The federal Nuclear Waste Fund now totals more than $43 billion, of which nearly $1 billion has been paid by SCE ratepayers to establish a permanent repository, the release says.

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Associate Editor - California Energy Markets

Abigail Sawyer grew up in northwestern New Mexico near two massive coal-fired power plants. She spent many hours gazing out the car window at transmission lines on family road trips across the Southwest and now reports on the region from San Francisco.