Edison to Submit Plan to Shut Down San Onofre Nuclear Plant

Decommissioning the plant will cost $4 billion, Southern California Edison says

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Three years after a nuclear disaster in Japan, plans are submitted to dismantle the San Onofre Nuclear Plant in Orange County. Vikki Vargas reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. from Orange County Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday it has made substantial progress on safety measures surrounding nuclear plants across the nation, including plans to dismantle the San Onofre nuclear plant.

    The NRC will be receiving a plan from Southern California Edison by this summer detailing how the utility will shut down the former nuclear generating station for good.

    As part of the plan to dismantle the station, heavy equipment like storage containers and turbine heat exchangers will be auctioned off later this month.

    Decommissioning the plant will cost $4 billion, according to SCE. The NRC estimates that the station will close at the end of 2030.

    Energy has not been produced at the plant since nine months ago, when SCE announced it would be too costly to repair faulty steam generators. What remains is 30 years of spent fuel, encased in concrete and stainless steel, which will remain on site indefinitely, officials said.

    “Their whole concept relies on being able to extra fuel rods from some containers, put them back into new ones and keep rotating that over the years, which is a very dangerous process,” said Gary Headrick of the community group San Clemente Green.

    San Clemente Green said it worries about safety at the plant and the surrounding communities. Since June 2013, 900 employees have been laid off or transferred out of the plant, which has led to lower staffing levels.

    A group of community leaders plan on meeting with SCE later this month to advise it on how they would like to see the plant decommissioned.

    The NRC’s announcement comes on the third anniversary of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011. All of the island nation’s power nuclear plants have remained offline since the disaster, which triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power station.

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