Radioactive Waste

Holtec cask

High level radioactive waste is stored at Diablo Canyon in pools and in dry casks.  Mothers for Peace is currently in litigation regarding the dry cask storage facility and the potential impact of terrorism on the surrounding environment. (Also see 'security and terrorism.')

05 - 08 - 2019 NRC Denies Public Hearing on Nuclear Waste Dump

On Tuesday, May 7, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board summarily terminated Public Intervenors' requests for an evidentiary hearing challenging Holtec International’s proposed high level nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico. As one of the Intervenors in this case, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace is concerned that once again the NRC is protecting the nuclear industry and not the American public.

2019 - 02 - 22 San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace calls for testing of Diablo Canyon Unit One

Mothers for Peace strongly urges Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to drop its request that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) grant Diablo Canyon an exemption from inspection of a highly radioactive component of the plant. The reliability and safety of the nuclear plant depends on knowledge of the effects of aging on the reactor vessels that have been bombarded by radiation for 35 years. The following letter was sent to Jon Franke, Chief Nuclear Officer, Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

2019 - 01 - 31 Mothers for Peace supports Decommissioning Engagement Panel

The current composition of the Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel, using citizen volunteers rather than elected officials or political appointees, is in the best interests of the Central Coast and beyond. The Panel is off to a good start in reviewing environmental concerns and issues surrounding radioactive waste storage.

2018 - 12 - 09 MFP Comments on Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel Draft Report

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace submitted the following comments on Public Review Draft of the Strategic Vision of the Diablo Canyon as written by the Decommissioning Engagement Panel (DCDEP), dated November 2018. The DCDEP consists of eleven volunteer citizens and all of their workshops and meetings are open to the public. For more information about the schedule and work of the DCDEP go to

2018 - 12 - 06 Mothers for Peace Opposes HR 1320, the Nuke Act

Mothers for Peace is one of eighty environmental organizations opposing HR 1320 (the Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Act, or NUKE Act). This bill would undermine environmental reviews, eliminate hearings for uncontested licensing hearings that have in the past revealed serious deficiencies, weaken an already prejudicial hearing procedures process, and hinder the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) ability to carry out its statutory responsibilities to protect public health and safety. The letter of opposition was drafted by National Resources Defense Council.


There are proposals before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to construct an interim storage facility for our country’s high-level radioactive waste. This would involve transporting up to 173,000 metric tons of toxic material on our roads, rails, and waterways through our cities – and then storing them in a centralized location until a permanent solution can be found. On September 14, 2018, a coalition of seven environmental organizations filed a legal challenge with the NRC opposing the plans of Holtec International/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA) to construct and operate a centralized interim storage facility (CISF) for high-level radioactive waste in southeastern New Mexico. Holtec intends to store up to 173,000 metric tons of radioactive wastes, more than twice the amount that currently exists.


Date: May 2, 2018 May Ma Office of Administration Mail Stop: TWFN–7– A60M U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington, DC 20555–0001 RE: Docket No. 72–1051; Holtec International’s HI–STORE CIS Facility for Spent Nuclear Fuel, Lea County, New Mexico NRC: We respectfully submit these scoping comments on the Holtec Environmental Report (ER) to transport up to 100,000 metric tons of spent fuel, high-level radioactive waste, from nuclear reactors around the country to southeast New Mexico. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) does not consent to the irradiated nuclear fuel that has been produced by the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors being sent to another community. This would entail the movement of 10,000 canisters of highly radioactive waste through thousands of communities. Furthermore, the site would likely become a national radioactive waste dumping ground. SLOMFP asserts that it is morally repugnant to send this deadly waste on our rails and highways to a poor community of color. Diablo’s waste must continue to be stored on-site until a permanent repository can be found.

2018 - 04 - 04 Federal Agencies Blocked in Bid to Re-Start Plan for Nuclear Waste Storage at Yucca Mountain

Trump Administration Officials at the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently put in a bid to shock the dead Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project back to life. The process for federal licensing of Yucca Mountain was effectively terminated more than five years ago. Last week the House of Representatives offered more than $170 Million towards the re-start of Yucca, but the Senate declined. The final appropriations bill governing federal spending for the rest of 2018 contains no funds for high level radioactive waste. See recent news report from The Exchange Monitor at


Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s two nuclear reactors are scheduled to shut down in 2024 and 2025. As of April 2018, Diablo Canyon’s two “spent” fuel pools held 1,800 irradiated nuclear fuel rods, and the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) held 49 casks, each of which contains a maximum of 32 rods, for a total of more than 3,300 highly irradiated fuel rods stored on site.

2018 - 04 - 18 Position on Consolidated Interim Storage

Over 75,000 metric tons of radioactive wastes have piled up at nuclear power plants across the United States. After more than 75 years of making this lethal waste, there are still no viable solutions to the problem of how to protect the environment from the dangers it will pose for a million years. If implemented, Consolidated (or Centralized) “Interim” Storage (CIS) facilities would be sites to which irradiated high-level nuclear waste would be moved and stored temporarily. Then, at some point, it would be shipped to a currently non-existent permanent repository. These facilities would provide temporary storage of commercial irradiated waste, mostly in dry storage casks, from all over the country. Currently there are two proposed facilities, one in Texas and the other in New Mexico.

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace Mission Statement and Strategies

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace is a non-profit organization concerned with the dangers posed by Diablo Canyon and other nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons, and radioactive waste. Additionally, the organization works to promote peace, environmental and social justice, and renewable energy.


Since February of 2014 members of SLO Mothers for Peace have periodically taken samples of ocean water from just south of the Pismo Pier and sent those samples to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) to be tested for radioactive content. Ten of these samples have been taken so far with the last sample showing a dramatic increase in Cesium 137 (Cs137) from the previous sample taken in July 2017.

2018 - 03 - 14 Mothers for Peace to attend national Summit on radioactive waste

Two members of the local non-profit, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, will join with representatives of dozens of environmental organizations in Chicago, IL March 16 – 18, 2018 to explore options for both short-term and long-term storage of radioactive wastes. These lethal by-products of energy production and weapons have been accumulating at nuclear plants, uranium mines and mills, and nuclear weapons complexes for decades.

2018 - 01 - 11 Diablo Canyon closure approved by the CPUC

In August of 2016 Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) , along with six labor and environmental groups, filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) a joint proposal to shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant by 2025. The parties to the joint proposal were PG&E, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment California and the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility. The CPUC made its Final Decision on the conditions of plant closure on January 11, 2018.

2018 - 01 - 03 Mothers for Peace comments to NRC on thin-walled canisters for waste storage

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace urges the NRC to order Diablo Canyon and all nuclear plants in the United States to use safer, thick-walled canisters for the storage of high level radioactive wastes. Currently the NRC allows canisters with walls only 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch in thickness, whereas in Germany and Japan the casks are between 6 and 9 inches thick.