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San Onofre To Be Permanently Closed

Above: The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is seen from the beach along San Onofre State Beach on March 15, 2012 south of San Clemente, California.

UPDATE 1:32 p.m. PST: The company behind the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station's faulty steam generators said it is disappointed by the decision to retire the power plant on the Southern California coast, the AP reports.

Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems said in a statement Friday that it has been working with operator Southern California Edison and believes San Onofre could be operated safely and reliably.

UPDATE 12:44 p.m. PST: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a statement that it is aware of the plans to retire the San Onofre nuclear power plant but it is awaiting official notification from Southern California Edison.

"As has been the case with Crystal River and Kewaunee, once Southern California Edison formally notifies the NRC that it has permanently removed all fuel from the San Onofre reactor cores, the NRC will use its existing processes to move San Onofre to the agency's decommissioning oversight structure," the federal agency said in a statement.

Until then, the agency will continue to oversee the plant.

Aired 6/7/13 on KPBS News.

Edison International announced it will drop its application to restart the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant and instead shut down and decommission the plant. Implications for ratepayers remains unclear.

Aired 6/7/13 on KPBS News.

The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California is closing.

Special Feature What do you think about the decision to close San Onofre?

The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California is closing, after an epic 16-month battle over whether the twin reactors could be safely returned to service, officials announced Friday. What do you think about San Onofre's shutdown?


Southern California Edison Announces Plans to Retire San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Southern California Edison Announces Plans to Retire San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

News release from Southern California Edison announcing plans to permanently close the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

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SAN DIEGO – The troubles at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) are coming to an end. Southern California Edison announced Friday the company is retiring the plant's two remaining reactors.

The power plant has been offline since January 2012, when premature tube wear in the station's steam generators caused a small radiation leak.

Ted Craver, Chairman and CEO of Edison International, parent company of SCE, said the uncertainty surrounding the plant's future led to the decision.

"SONGS has served this region for over 40 years," Craver said in a statement. "But we have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if SONGS might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors or the need to plan of your region's long-term electricity needs."

Craver said the retirement will lead to the dismissal of more than 1,000 employees later this year.

Rochelle Becker, executive director of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, said she is delighted to hear the plant will be shutting down permanently.

"It was apparent that this process was going to go on for 5 years – if not longer – and it was going to be something that would not benefit ratepayers, the utility wouldn't benefit the state of California, so we are pleased that Edison has stopped the bleeding," she said.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she was also pleased to learn of the announcement.

"I am greatly relieved that the San Onofre nuclear plant will be closed permanently," the head of the Environment and Public Works Committee said in a statement. "This nuclear plant had a defective redesign and could no longer operate as intended," she said in a statement.

Boxer has been highly critical of the management at San Onofre, and recently released letters that she said proves SCE misled federal regulators when the company replaced the plant's reactors in 2011.

Boxer said the company did not properly notify the Nuclear Regulatory Committee of design changes. The NRC has maintained Edison followed the correct procedures. The cause of the premature tube wear in San Onofre's steam generators was determined to be a design flaw.

In a phone conversation with the media this morning, Craver said the company did question the manufacturer, Mitsubishi International, about the design fo the new steam generators before they were installed. However, he said after they were installed, they did not perform as specified.

Craver said the company is pursuing efforts to get cost recovery from Mitsubishi, the Nuclear Industry Insurance Program and California ratepayers. Shareholders will cover the rest.

Craver also said San Onofre's decommissioned fund is about $2.7 billion and is about 90 percent funded.

Stephanie Donovan, spokesperson for SDG&E, said ratepayers have always paid into the decommissioning fund on their monthly bills. Those fees total about $8 million each year.

Donovan also said SDG&E has reached an agreement with the Encina power plant in Carlsbad that will help bridge the gaps in service left by the shutdown of San Onofre.

"That will allow us to receive power from that plant and buy us some time as we, together as a region, figure out the best answer for the permanent loss of San Onofre," Donovan said.

According to Donovan, decommissioning the San Onofre power plant will take 40 years.

Follow the troubles at San Onofre beginning with the 'small leak' that started it all:

Interactive Feature

Troubles At San Onofre Timeline

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 7, 2013 at 10:37 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Bye Bye San Onofre..

Victory at last,
Victory at last,
Great God Almighty, Victory at last! -CaptD

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 7, 2013 at 10:41 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

This will raise home values in all of SoCal!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 7, 2013 at 10:57 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

CA has plenty of Energy without any nuclear reactors!

California has excess power without nuclear, according to data from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the electricity grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (ISO). Here is their chart showing that CA has a 20% (and growing) surplus of Energy without either El Diablo or San Onofre (which has been shuttered because of faulty NEW steam generators for about a year and a half) nuclear generators!
There is a simple reason that California has the highest rates in the USA!

The California Public Utility Commission (who sets the rates) has been allowing the Utilities to rip off rate payers so they can reward their shareholders.

This practice MUST STOP...

Now is the time to demand that SCE (and SDG&E) pay us for the energy from our rooftop solar systems, (that we put into the grid) the same rate they pay themselves for the energy they put into the grid! This will reduce the payback period and encourage everyone to add solar to their roofs in order to gain energy freedom instead remaining an energy slavery to the Utilities!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 7, 2013 at 11:09 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

When it come to Energy, we need must start thinking ahead not backwards!

LNG and hopefully H2 should power the USA until we can go all Solar

Yes, as a country we should begin shifting toward ZERO nuclear ASAP for all the right rerasons which have to do with powering our planet safely without all the nuclear baggage that has the capacity to end life as we know it!

LNG and soon Hydrogen could together fill in the gaps until we have installed enough Solar (of all flavors) to power mankind's desire for Energy!

Sure it will not happen tomorrow but we need to start installing it NOW so that our energy future arrives ASAP, plus installing Solar (of all flavors) will help end the energy resource wars that are now plaguing mankind.

Give US solar energy freedom N☢T Nuclear energy slavery.

Germany is aiming for 100% renewable by 2050, why don't we?

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 7, 2013 at 11:17 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

We should start a State-wide discussion about how to redesign our energy system so that it begins to benefit not only the shareholders of our Utilities but also ratepayers; remember it is supposed to be a public "Utility" which means that its primary goal should be to deliver safe Energy at the lowest possible price to ratepayers... Over the years this has morphed into providing shareholders the maximum return possible and that needs to be fixed!

Our energy model should be like Germany where the majority of their Energy comes from people not Big Energy, which keeps their cost much lower and (after payback) provides Energy freedom!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 7, 2013 at 11:17 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Ratepayers want low cost, SAFE energy and Solar is now ready to provide it.

There are only three things standing in the way of FIXING our energy problem:

Our powerful Utilities, who want to keep us in Energy Slavery, so that we will be forced to purchase our energy from them instead of producing it ourselves for FREE (after the initial payback).

Our appointed regulators, who have a too cozy relationship with the very Utilities they regulate! They have been putting Utility shareholder profits ahead of following their sworn mandate and demanding that our "public" utilities provide energy to US at the lowest cost possible! Example: Why should Utilities be allowed to rip off residential solar panel owners by not reimburse them for the energy they add to the grid at the very same rate that the Utility pays itself when it adds energy to the grid? This would "level" the energy playing field and greatly reduce the payback periods of owning your own panels, which would make installing solar even a better deal!

Our Political Leaders are beholden to the Powerful Utilities because of large Utility donations and have been until recently hesitant to propose changes to "how the energy game is played" but now with a shrinking economy, the public resistance to ever higher energy costs and record Utility shareholder profits, energy is becoming a HOT political issue that Political Leaders cannot ignore any longer, if they want to stay in office or get elected.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 7, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Yes, she has been an eyesore on the 5 and has been the topic of recent controversy and subsequent demise, but let's not forget her in her finest moment, the golden-age of San Onofre Nuclear Plant:

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 7, 2013 at 12:07 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps they can turn San Onofre into a burlesque museum or a bra factory? Keep the 1,000 nuclear technicians employed! Nuclear Bras...they'll hold anything!

Ahem....copyright 2013 CaliforniaDefender. All rights reserved.

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Avatar for user 'MaoTzu'

MaoTzu | June 8, 2013 at 7:58 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

It's about time, actually it's past time to stop using nuclear fusion to boil water, think about it, is that crazy or what? Humans are using one of the most dangerous and poisonous processes that there, is to boil water! Shut them all down!

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | June 9, 2013 at 7:03 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

While there is an important place for nuclear energy it is not one where private enterprise can run amok. This plant has lived it's designed lifespan and it seems to me like the owners were trying to squeeze the last few pennies out of it before closing it down (at our risk and their gain).

Good riddance. Good job by everyone involved in keeping our community safe.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | June 14, 2013 at 3:31 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm counting on the NRC to complete all its investigations into what was going on at San Onofre and especially how SCE was able to build their 465 million dollar RSG without going through a CFR 50.59 process, which includes public hearings.

Sweeping all the investigations "under the rug" will be a dis-service to both those that reported what was happening at San Onofre and to the NRC's role as a regulator to the nuclear industry!

The NRC should be issuing fines and or other types of enforcement as well a re-thinking one of its core beliefs that only one SG tube can ever fail at any one time which San Onofre proved could happen!

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