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San Onofre: Shutting Down A Nuclear Power Plant

Evening Edition

Aired 6/10/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Rochelle Becker, executive director, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility

Murray Jennex, SDSU School of Business Administration, expert on nuclear containment


The decision has been made to close the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station permanently.

The nuclear plant on the northern edge of San Diego County has provided energy for 40 years. But it's been closed for a year and a half because of excessive wear of the tubes that carry radioactive water through the plants two steam generators.

Those generators were newly installed and shut down when the tube wear was discovered. After a year and a half without producing power, Southern California Edison (SCE), the utility that runs the plant, made the decision to shut it down.

The company originally sought to run one of the generators at reduced power.

SCE has set aside $2 billion to cover the cost of taking the plant offline but it's not enough — the decommissioning fund is 90 percent full — and ratepayers may have to pay additional funds.

Attention also turns to the nuclear waste left at the site, how the spent fuel will be housed and whether there is any danger in keeping it onsite.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | June 10, 2013 at 10:15 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks to KPBS for letting the public know how woefully unprepared we are for dealing with highly radioactive plutonium in spent nuclear powerplant fuel rods. As the experts noted, it is not really safe to try to store it indefinitely at the SONGS site, but thanks to incompetent politicians and regulators there are no safe alternative storage sites available in the country. This stockpile of plutonium will remain an ongoing risk to the public and an attractive terrorist target for decades to come. Our children and grandchildren won't thank us for our blind pursuit of nuclear power without solving the back end depleted fuel problems.

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