SAN CLEMENTE (CBSLA) — Southern Orange County residents pleaded with the San Clemente City Council Tuesday night to urge the California Coastal Commission to stop Southern California Edison from burying 3.6 million pounds of radioactive waste on the beach.

Activists were begging the commission to cancel a permit that allows Edison to store spent nuclear fuel rods from the closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at the beach.

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“Just tell the Coastal Commission to take the conditions that they put 20 years out and move them up to today where they belong,” said activist Gary Headrick.

It’s one of the last battles those living close to the nuclear power plant have to fight.

The plant was shut down four years ago when unexpected wear was found in the metal tubes that carry radioactive water to the steam generators.

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“If we allow this storage temporary or otherwise to be contained here at San Onofre, there will be a problem. It’s only a matter of time. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when,” Laguna Beach resident Deedee Almida told council members.

If the Coastal Commission doesn’t rescind the permit to bury the spent fuel rods, neighbors said Edison will start loading canisters with radioactive waste early next year.

“This is a paramount and critical moment in history of our lives and the future lives of our children and grandchildren,” said San Clemente resident Tom Gudauskas.

CThe City Council will not vote on whether to even draft a letter to the Coastal Commission until the next meeting in May.