For Immediate Release
March 15, 2021
Media Contact for North Wind Group: Anne Smith (865) 556-8014
Media Contact for SCE: John Dobken, (626) 302-2255
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho, March 15, 2021 — Two major analyses recently completed by North Wind, Inc. will support efforts by Southern California Edison (SCE) to remove spent nuclear fuel from the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). Removal of this fuel is a necessary precondition to complete decommissioning and fully restore the SONGS site, which is located on the southern coast of California between Los Angeles and San Diego. North Wind’s work is documented in two volumes—a Strategic Plan and a Conceptual Transportation Plan—that together inform SCE’s Action Plan for the Relocation of SONGS Spent Nuclear Fuel to an Offsite Storage Facility or a Repository. All three plans are available at www.SONGScommunity.com.
“North Wind is honored to have been selected to conduct this important work,” said Chris Leichtweis, North Wind Group President and CEO. “We are proud of the team’s incredible efforts that went into achieving this milestone.”
North Wind was retained by SCE in 2019, following a competitive selection process, to conduct an in-depth analysis of commercially reasonable pathways for removing the spent fuel at SONGS as soon as practical. To bring a range of perspectives and deep expertise to the work, North Wind assembled a team of professionals with extensive technical, regulatory, and policy experience in nuclear waste management and transportation. North Wind’s analysis was further strengthened by extensive collaboration with senior SCE management and with an Experts Team that was assembled by SCE and composed of six nationally recognized nuclear waste experts. The resulting three-volume set of plans represents a first-ever comprehensive assessment of the critical nuclear waste challenges facing the United States from the perspective of a major electric utility company and its customers.
To develop the Strategic Plan, the North Wind team identified and evaluated seven potential alternatives for relocating the SONGS spent fuel, ranging from alternatives that assume the federal government meets its longstanding statutory and contractual obligations to remove the fuel, to alternatives that might be considered if the federal government continues to fail to meet these obligations. To develop the Conceptual Transportation Plan, the North Wind team looked in detail at the steps that would be required to plan for spent fuel shipments and prepare the SONGS site for loading operations once an offsite facility becomes available. Both plans also offer extensive information about the technical, regulatory, economic, and policy parameters that shape the SONGS co-owners’ options for relocating the spent fuel and about current storage arrangements and safety measures at the site.
The central driver for this effort is the recognition, first, that no offsite storage or disposal facility currently exists that could accept the SONGS spent fuel, and second, that this fact is the result of a fundamental and now decade-long breakdown of the national nuclear waste management program. For a host of reasons detailed by the North Wind team, resolving the current impasse and restarting progress at the federal level is the critical key to moving forward with a solution—not only for SONGS but for the increasing number of shutdown nuclear plants around the country where there is no option other than to continue storing these materials on site.
Building on the insights and information developed in the Strategic and Conceptual Transportation Plans, SCE’s Action Plan outlines the commitments and steps the SONGS co-owners will undertake, in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders, to catalyze action at the federal level. At the core of the co-owners’ effort will be the formation of a new coalition: Action for Spent Fuel Solutions Now. The Action Plan also details the measures the SONGS co-owners will take to ensure that spent fuel continues to be stored safely and securely for as long as it remains at the SONGS site.
The plans will also be discussed at a SONGS Community Engagement Panel meeting to be held on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. More information on this meeting is available at https://www.songscommunity.com/community-engagement/community-engagement-in-decommissioning
About North Wind
Founded in 1997, North Wind has grown to a group of companies that employ more than 2,000 scientific, engineering, management and professional personnel. North Wind has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) an Alaska Native Corporation (ANC), since 2010. With its headquarters located in Idaho Falls, ID, North Wind has a presence throughout the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of approximately 15 million via 5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.