San Onofre decommissioning: $4.4 billion wasted

by John Seiler | August 4, 2014 4:36 pm

San Onofre electricity station, wikimediaAccording to the U-T[1], 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[2]:

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.

  1. According to the U-T:
  2. reported on

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