Southern California Edison, one of the San Gabriel Valley’s largest corporations, has announced plans to permanently shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station which at one time provided about 20 percent of the power for the region.
The decision was announced on June 7 by company chairman and CEO Ted Craver. Units 2 and 3 were taken offline in January 2012 after a small radiation leak was detected in Unit 3. At that time, Edison International — SCE’s parent company — vowed repair leaking steam generators and restart the plant.
The San Onofre plant, also called “SONGS” is located about 70 miles south of Los Angeles in San Diego County along the coastline.
“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.” Craver said in a statement.
The two large 1100 megawatt nuclear units were first started in the early 1980s after nearly 10 years of construction and regulatory hearings.
SCE officials also announced the shutdown will result in 1,100 layoffs — reducing plant staff to 400. The plant’s 1,500-person staff will not be cut until its revised emergency preparedness and security plans for a shutdown plant are approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Craver said.
Currently, the regulatory body considers the plant as operational since Unit 2 still houses nuclear fuel.
There was no word of any impact on employees at Edison’s Corporate offices located at 2200 Walnut Grove Avenue in Rosemead. The company employs thousands of administrators and engineers at four buildings on the Rosemead campus.
Last Wednesday, Edison’s local public affairs manager Marissa Castro Salvati assured the Monterey Park City Council that the company planned to restart the nuclear units.
Earlier this year, the company conducted a reorganization that resulted in more than 1,000 employees leaving the company.
Victor Dricks, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region IV, which regulates SONGS, said the NRC will continue its oversight of the plant, but determination of the impact the announcement will have on existing investigations and licensing actions will have to wait until Edison submits its decommissioning plan.
“The NRC is aware of Southern California Edison’s plans, but the agency is awaiting formal notification of the utility’s actions,” Dricks said.
“Once Southern California Edison formally notifies the NRC that it has permanently removed all fuel from the San Onofre reactor cores, the NRC will use its existing processes to move San Onofre to the agency’s decommissioning oversight structure.”