San Onofre decommissioning: $4.4 billion wasted

San Onofre decommissioning: $4.4 billion wasted

San Onofre electricity station, wikimediaAccording to the U-T, the decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear powerplant will cost $4.4 billion. The money, of course, will be paid by ratepayers. It is owned mainly by Southern California Edison and SGD&E.

Even if stockholders are hit with the bill, that only would cut the stock prices, mandating that the companies do something to increase profits to boost stock prices — that something would be to raise rates.

It’s all so unnecessary. As Wayne Lusvardi reported on

Can the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, whose decommissioning was announced last June, be salvaged? Cal-Tech trained geochemist and nuclear waste expertJames Conca in says it can. 

Conca makes a case that Southern California electric ratepayers should not need to pick up the $830 million net cost [now $4.4 billion] of permanently closing the power plant because there is no sound reason for decommissioning it….

But Conca says there is a simple alternative:

“[A]ll we had to do was decrease one reactor’s output by 20 percent to solve the problem, which would have dropped total output of SONGS (San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station) by only 8 percent.”

Conca states the scientific reason that San Onofre was decommissioned had to do with amanufacturing feature of its steam tubes that resulted in vibrations that caused a perfect harmonic pitch at 100 percent steam flow.  A few hundred of the steam tubes out of 10,000 vibrated enough to cause contact and one tube failing.

There was no radiation or other safety issue, despite reports to the contrary by the media and rumors on the blogosphere, he said. The San Onofre malfunction was not anything like Fukushima, the 2011 nuclear disaster following a 9.0 Richter earthquake in Japan.


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  1. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 5 August, 2014, 07:44

    If you listen to ‘Le Show’ on the radio (popular in Oregon and Northern Cal) you know that nuclear power was marketed as ‘clean, safe, too cheap to meter’…It is none of those things. Nuclear power IS an engineer’s raging hyper-complex wet dream come true, especially the type of engineers who served on nuclear subs in the US Navy. Engineering culture has long reeked of a smug, secretive kind of arrogance, as if the ability to run differential equations in your sleep somehow places you above the rest of humanity. It doesn’t. San Onofre and especially Fukushima stand as glowing hot monuments to american engineering hubris. Oh, and let’s not forget the ongoing nightmare fiasco at the WIPP in New Mexico…..

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 5 August, 2014, 08:38

      As with most thoughts there is some truth to what you write. My Navy time was spent underwater, nuclear power is very safe ad doable, the main problem is that preparations and money have never approached what was needed for safe containment of the waste. Russia has over a 1000 square miles of radioactive land and water where waste was dumped while trying to create their first A-bomb.
      The US needs to clean-up their nukes, as of now little is being done and like pensions it is being left to the kids to handle. 🙂

      Reply this comment
  2. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 7 August, 2014, 07:38

    Swiss TV story on the robots used to clean up Fukushima.

    Even if you don’t understand a word of swiss german you can learn a lot about the Fukushima situation by watching this video. Notice not a word about Oprah, Beyonce or Jay Z….How odd!

    And sorry, Donkeyhotey, but nuclear power is not inherently safe and doable. We all need to wake from our techno trance before it is too late…

    Reply this comment
    • T Mind of Ted Your God
      T Mind of Ted Your God 7 August, 2014, 10:36

      Well said Bill— Nukes are expensive, dirty and not healthy. Proven over and over again sadly……. Duncey spent his Navy time underwater! LMAO—– yes he did— probably in the galley underr dishwater before is psych discharge!

      Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 9 August, 2014, 16:12

      Never sad it was “inherently safe” Billy Goat, it’s very safe and doable, but the planning and money is not being done in an efficient manner of disposal. The NRC has never done its job to the fullest. 🙂

      Reply this comment

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