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Edison To Decide Fate Of San Onofre By Year's End

San Onofre from the State Park, April 2013
Nicholas McVicker
San Onofre from the State Park, April 2013

Edison CEO, Ted Craver, told market analysts on a conference call Tuesday, the company will decide on the future of the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant by the end of the year.

Edison To Decide Fate Of San Onofre By Year's End
The CEO of Southern California Edison says the company will decide by year’s end whether to shut down San Onofre, if the NRC does not approve their application to restart Unit Two.

“That’s what we’re trying to signal,” Craver said in response to a question from an investor analyst, “that there’s a limit on timing. So, I think it’s the first time we’ve said it that way, but essentially, we’re down to months here.“

The power plant has been offline for 15 months since a small radiation leak was detected in the newly-installed steam generator tubes.

Edison, which operates the plant and is 80 percent owner, has applied to the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a temporary license amendment to restart Unit Two at 70 percent power for two years. The NRC will not issue a decision till after a 30 day period of public comment.

Unit Three has been taken offline indefinitely and the fuel has been removed.

Craver said unless the NRC approves the request to restart Unit Two, time and money will run out by the end of this year.

“There are many potential decision scenarios involving Units Two and Three," Craver said, "They all have different implications: for grid reliability, for customer costs, attainment of green house gas emission objectives, air quality and many other issues. We look to narrow these uncertainties and the potential operating scenarios before the end of the year.”

California’s Public Utilities Commission is in the midst of an investigation to determine what costs are reasonable to charge ratepayers for San Onofre since it has not produced electricity for more than a year.

Craver said Edison continues to press for recovery of costs of more than $100 million from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which designed and manufactured the faulty steam generators.

Craver said Edison has also filed claims for $234 million dollars in nuclear outage insurance.

Costs for the idled plant have risen to more than $550 million dollars.