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San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to close permanently

Southern California Edison decided yesterday, after a 16-month effort to revive the damaged power plant, to close the facility permanently after 45 years of operation! A radiation leak led to the discovery that recently replaced steam generator tubes were degraded. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission prohibited the utility from restarting the power plant, citing numerous equipment failures. About 7.4 million people live within 50 miles on San Onofre, which used to supply enough power for 1.4 million homes, nearly 1/5 of the region’s power. The outage cost millions of dollars. The environmental group, Friends of the Earth, presented its case for not restarting the power plant to federal regulators in January of this year.

The reactors have been fully defueled, and the work to ensure long-term electrical power supplies have begun. California state utility regulators will oversee the resolution of disputed plant costs.

“We have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if San Onofre might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs,” said Ted Craver, CEO of Edison International, the parent company of the plant operator.

The dismantling of the site will take DECADES, and BILLIONS of dollars have been set aside for the task.

Edison has trimmed about 730 positions at the plant since December to about 1,500 workers. In coming months, personnel will be reduced to 600 as the plant is taken out of active operation, and then 400 as it is dismantled, Edison said.

Other power plants, mostly using natural gas, have satisfied Southern California‘s electricity needs as California rapidly expands its solar and wind generation.

The news article describes the state of “finger pointing” as a number of factions try to deflect the costs of the failed nuclear facility.

-Bill at

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