The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, shut down since 2012 and now being decommissioned. Photo courtesy Southern California Edison

A vote by a House committee Wednesday paves the way to move radioactive waste from the decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to an interim site and ultimately Nevada.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved legislation to proceed with the long-awaited permanent nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain and authorize the Department of Energy to open a temporary, interim site.

Congress decided 30 years ago to designate Yucca Mountain as the nation’s repository for high-level nuclear waste, but the project has been stalled by objections from Nevada. The location is 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas near the California border.

“The move today makes clear that the last 30 years of obstruction over any and every plan to get nuclear waste out of our communities is over,” said Rep. Darrell Issa. “For years, I have been fighting to ensure the federal government upholds its end of the deal and takes the nuclear waste from SONGS and places it into the safe storage site the ratepayers are owed and have paid for. Today, I’m glad to see these hard-fought efforts are beginning to pay off.”

Issa, whose district includes San Onofre, has long fought for interim storage to ensure nuclear waste can be moved out of communities as soon as possible.

During the committee hearing, Issa was commended for helping to “thread the needle through a very narrow eye to get us to this point” and for being “very involved” in the process to make the legislation a reality.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.