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Del Mar council passes resolutions on San Onofre and Oceanside’s groin project
The Del Mar City Council adopted a resolution opposing the City of Oceanside's proposed groin project. A groin, pictured above, is a perpendicular structure designed to limit sediment flow or maintain beaches. Courtesy photo
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Del Mar adopts resolutions on SONGS, Oceanside groin project

DEL MAR – The Del Mar City Council approved resolutions last week reaffirming the city’s position on the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel at the decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, or SONGS, and opposing the construction of groins and other devices that could impede the natural flow of sand to the city’s beaches.

The first resolution, brought forward by Mayor Dwight Worden and Councilmember Terry Gaasterland, is similar to the ones the city has adopted before regarding a solution to store the nuclear waste at San Onofre.

The nuclear plant is owned by Southern California Edison and was discontinued almost 10 years ago. By law, the U.S. Department of Energy is responsible for developing a disposal facility for the long-term management of used uranium fuel from U.S. nuclear power plants. However, there is still no solid plan in place.

“There are a lot of risks and worries there should the canisters leak, how we monitor them,” Worden said. “I think everybody, including Edison, agrees it isn’t great to have them where they are. And the real fault here, to the extent there is real fault, lies with the federal government.”

The resolution calls for the identification of a safer long-term storage site located away from populated areas and urges the swift relocation of all nuclear waste from San Onofre to safer interim storage.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. File photo

It also advocates for federal legislation that would increase local agencies and the state’s ability to participate in and/or fund the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

A proposed site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada has been discussed over the past several years but has consistently been met with resistance from residents of the state.

“The nuclear waste… is a threat to agriculture, to food production, to our fish, to our very way of life,” Gaasterland said during the meeting. “The point of this is to keep up the pressure… these resolutions to reaffirm give empowerment and visibility to the private citizen groups and nonprofit groups that are pushing to keep this on the forefront.”

The council also approved a resolution opposing the construction of devices that could impede the natural flow of beach sand.

The resolution, brought forward by Worden and Gaasterland, examines the construction of groins and other similar structures (designed to maintain beaches or limit sediment flow) that could significantly reduce the natural sediment transport southward and alter the character of Del Mar’s shoreline.

Groins are narrow structures built out into the water from a beach in order to trap and accumulate sand that would otherwise drift along the beach,

In August 2021, the Oceanside City Council unanimously approved initiating a pilot program to install five 600-foot-long groins, 1,000 feet apart, extending into the ocean at right angles from the rock revetments that border the ocean.

However, according to the staff report, the groins have been shown to interfere with the natural flow of sand down the coast specifically the sand transported south by large North Pacific swells during the fall and winter months.

The Del Mar City Council voted 4-1 to pass the resolution, effectively opposing Oceanside’s groin project. The city joins Carlsbad and Solana Beach in opposing the project.

“This is something that would be counter-productive,” said Gaasterland. “It would retain sand, but at a cost.”

Councilmember Dan Quirk was the sole “no” vote to the resolution.