California News

Jun 7, 2013 7:48 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

A jolt to the nation's nuclear power plant industry

Southern California's troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant was shut down for good on Friday, but this won't have any effect on PG&E customers who get power from Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

Southern California Edison surrendered in a costly and drawn-out battle over whether it was too damaged to repair and continue operations.

According to the Associated Press, the owner's decision brings to a sudden end a dispute that began in January 2012, when a small radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of virtually new tubes that carry radioactive water. San Onofre hasn't been producing electricity since then.

"San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station or "SONGS" has served this region for over 40 years," said Ted Craver, Chairman and CEO of Edison International, parent company of SCE, "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 for our region's long-term electricity needs."

San Onofre anticipates cutting its staff over the next year from approximately 1,500 to approximately 400 employees. Most of the reductions are expected to occur in 2013.

"This situation is very unfortunate," said Pete Dietrich, SCE's Chief Nuclear Officer, noting that "this is an extraordinary team of men and women. We will treat them fairly."

Even though the plant won't be producing electricity doesn't mean it is going away anytime soon.

According to SCE, it will take several decades to decommission the power plant. The process involves the removal of radioactive equipment from the site and permanent storage of nuclear fuel in approved dry cask containers.

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