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The Califorina Public Utilities Commission late last week issued a proposed ruling on funding Southern California Edison, operator of the idled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, hopes to recover from ratepayers.

One of the items on the list asks electricity customers to pay up to $1.5 million to remodel the employees’ cafeteria at San Onofre, under the justification that it “has not been upgraded since it was first built in the 1980s.” Edison has already begun $320,000 in upgrades, including replacement of ventilation and fire suppression systems, and says that the work is justified because “even under shutdown conditions, SCE has numerous employees and workers on-site and will continue to do so whether the units are restarted or decommissioned.”

Rochelle Becker of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, a watchdog group that has kept an eye on costs both at San Onofre and California’s other nuclear plant at Diablo Canyon, finds the request “amusing,” especially “when we consider the millions of [California public school] students who eat in cafeterias designed in the 1960's.”

Edison is in turn asking San Diego Gas & Electric ratepayers to shoulder 20 percent of the burden of San Onofre operating costs, suggesting up to $300,000 of the cafeteria remodel could be billed to local residents.

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