State Eyes Whether Troubled Nuclear Plant Worth Cost

The California Public Utilities Commission is expected to launch an investigation of San Onofre.

As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission studies a restart plan for the beleaguered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a state regulator is expected to launch its own investigation.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which usually meets in San Francisco, will meet in Irvine City Hall Thursday and is set to vote on starting an investigation into whether it's worth the cost to ratepayers to keep San Onofre running or whether Southern California Edison owes them money.

According to the CPUC agenda for Oct. 25:

Pursuant to the provisions of Public Utilities Code Section 455.5, the Commission opens this investigation to consolidate and consider issues raised by the extended outage of units 2 and 3 of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The Commission may issue orders based on this investigation to address ratemaking and other matters under our jurisdiction.

Local environmental groups San Clemente Green and Residents Organized for a Safe Environment will be at the meeting voicing their support for the investigation.

San Onofre was shuttered in January after a small leak of radioactive steam revealed that the plant's steam generators were riddled with bum components. The steam generators, replaced only a few years ago for nearly $700 million, were plagued by design flaws and fabrication errors.

Edison plans to restart Unit 2 at partial power for a short cycle, but that plan is still under review for safety by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The CPUC meeting starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 25 at Irvine City Hall, 1 Civic Center Plaza in Irvine.

For hundreds of stories chronicling the last few years of San Onofre's history, visit our nuclear plant topic page here.

JTTPW October 19, 2012 at 04:14 PM
"State Eyes Weather Troubled Nuclear Plant Worth the Cost " Dear Editor - please turn in your Journalism Degree at the front desk, upon departure from this job. I seriously don't know WHETHER to laugh or cry!
Adam Townsend October 19, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Thanks for pointing this out. We fixed the headline. In the rush of online news reporting, we sometimes make grammatical errors, just as in print media. We endeavor to fix them as quickly as possible.
Beachgirl October 19, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I'm glad it's fixed because when I saw the poor choice of the word weather/whether, I didn't even want to read the article.
brad October 19, 2012 at 06:24 PM
nuclear disaster pending, or grammer ? hmmm, ?wtf
Desi Kiss October 20, 2012 at 03:27 AM
SCE is proposing restarting one of its troubled SONGS nuclear reactors at reduced power. According to SCE the lower-power restart will allow the Unit 2 reactor’s steam generators to work without excessive vibrations, that were blamed in the first place for the wear in the steam generator tubes that has kept both reactors offline since January 2012. The reactors have shown unexpected and alarming wear in the tubes that carry water heated by the reactor. Furthermore, the SONGS was designed in the 50's to withstand only a 7.0 earthquake. MV is located in an area of high seismic activity in the vicinity of the Newport- Inglewood fault that poses greatest hazard to life and property. It is believed by scientists that the fault is capable of generating a maximum credible 7.5 magnitude earthquake. Because of the degree of City urbanization and proximity to a major fault, the risk of structural damage and loss of life due to ground shaking is considerable. In addition 3 other seismic faults are in the proximity of MV: Whittier, Inferred and the Elsinore fault. If an earthquake and/or tsunami hits like the one similar that hit the Fukushima Daiichi Plant in Japan, the SONGS itself and the concrete retaining wall designed to protect from such events (i.e. tsunamis) is also prone to structural failure. I was wondering if the City has a “plan” to deal with such events? Approximately 7 million people live in a 50 mile radius from the SONGS.


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