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Owners To Get $125M Payout For San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Closure

Power lines make their way over a freeway toward the San Onofre nuclear power plant, June 7, 2013.
Associated Press
Power lines make their way over a freeway toward the San Onofre nuclear power plant, June 7, 2013.

Southern California Edison announced Monday that the utility and two other owners of the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County were awarded $125 million from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, stemming from the plant's closure.

The award ordered by the International Chamber of Commerce's Court of Arbitration was far less than Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside were hoping for. Also, the owners were ordered in the 2-1 decision to pay MHI $58 million in attorneys' fees.

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"We had hoped the award would more accurately reflect the true magnitude of damage caused by Mitsubishi's defective steam generators," said SCE President Ron Nichols. "Unfortunately, the arbitration panel concluded that the contract's prescribed liability limit should be respected and no additional award can be granted despite the harm caused."

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The nuclear plant just south of the San Diego/Orange County border was shut down when a small, non-injury leak was discovered in a steam generator in one of the two reactors in January 2012. The other reactor was inoperative at the time because it was undergoing maintenance.

The steam generators from MHI were only a few years old at the time. An investigation found that the equipment had design flaws.

Neither reactor was restarted and SCE, the operator, announced the retirement of San Onofre in June 2013, rather than follow an expensive restart program. The arbitration claim against the Japanese company was filed four months later.


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The arbitrator who dissented said the owners should have received more than $1 billion. Nichols said SCE continues to review the lengthy decision.

The decision included an allocation of damages and costs in accordance with plant ownership shares, which resulted in a net award to SCE of about $52 million. SDG&E's share, and that of the city of Riverside, weren't immediately available.

As part of a settlement agreement, customers have to pay $3.3 billion dollars for San Onofre's closure costs. That pact has been reopened after it was revealed that former state regulator Michael Peevey and an Edison executive met in secret in Poland where they penned the framework for the deal.

Counting Customer Costs For San Onofre Closure: $10.4 Billion