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What's next for the nuclear waste at San Onofre?

The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is seen on April 6, 2012.
The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is seen on April 6, 2012.
Grant Slater/KPCC

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Since the San Onofre nuclear plant shut down in 2013, the plant's nearly 1,800 tons of nuclear waste has sat at the site in giant concrete casks. 

That could change with a plan proposed by the Trump administration. The proposal would first move the nuclear waste from San Onofre to a temporary storage site. Eventually, the waste would end up in permanent storage at a site like Yucca Mountain in Nevada, which has long been controversial. President Obama stopped plans to create a storage site at Yucca Mountain in 2010. 

David Victor is a Professor of International Relations at UC San Diego, and also serves as the chair of the community engagement panel for San Onofre's decommissioning. He is optimistic about the plan to revive the Yucca Mountain project.

"Washington is in gridlock on almost everything, and this is one of the few areas where you can see people on both sides of the aisle work on a solution. It is more optimistic and more promising today than at any time in recent memory, which is why the panel that I chair is so optimistic about this legislation, because it gives us a chance to get all aspects of the plant out of there, and not be stuck with this spent fuel in our communities."

According to Victor, the earliest the waste would actually be relocated would be in 2030 or after. 

To hear the full conversation, click the blue player button above.