18 June 2011

San Onofre to ship low-level nuclear waste

A new, 640-ton steam generator at the San Onofre nuclear plant last year, before it was installed in the dome housing reactor three. Parts of the old steam generators, considered low-level radioactive waste, will be shipped to Utah starting this month. Register photo by Jebb Harris.
Steam generator parts that are considered low-level radioactive waste will be shipped from the San Onofre nuclear plant to Utah beginning this month, Southern California Edison officials said Tuesday.
The lower sections of the steam generators, recently replaced in a massive operation, will be taken by highway to a low-level waste-disposal facility in four shipments.
The shipments should be completed before the end of the year, an Edison statement said.
Edison operates the nuclear plant.
The shipments from San Onofre, just south of San Clemente, will pass through San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties as well as Nevada, then arrive in Clive, Utah.
The generators’ radiation levels are below the U.S. Department of Transportation’s safety threshold, the statement said, although Edison officials said they could not provide details on the route or shipping schedule for security reasons.
No one living along the route will be exposed to radiation, Edison said; standing six feet from the from the vehicle carrying the generator parts for an hour would bring the same level of radioactive exposure as a dental X-ray.
Four 640-ton steam generators, two for each of the plant’s reactors, have been replaced over the past two years.

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