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Costs Surrounding San Onofre Shutdown Continue to Climb

Costs resulting from the prolonged idling of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County are all but certain to exceed $100 million, the website InsideClimate News is reporting.

These expenses include daily purchases of alternate power at utilities normally served by the plant, increased oversight from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and customer-funded energy conservation incentives, as well as repair and replacement of equipment and parts. The final cost on that list has itself been estimated at $400-800 million.

In 2005, the plant’s operators were granted permission by the California Public Utilities Commission to spend up to $680 million installing new steam generators at the facility, which now appear to be defective in design after a radiation leak led to the discovery of hundreds prematurely worn tubes. Additional costs up to a total of $782 million were also approved. Plant operator Southern California Edison still has not submitted the final bill for the generators, installed in 2010 and 2011, for review.

The question remains: who will foot the bill for expenses related to the plant shutdown? Possible parties include equipment manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (for manufacturing defects), engineering firm Bechtel (for design issues), other contractors employed on the project (for improper installation), or electricity customers at Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric (if the plant was improperly operated).

Mitsubishi’s liability, however, is capped at $137 million under a 20-year warranty issued on the generators, far less than estimated repair costs. Its warranty also doesn’t cover the cost of replacement power, which plant operators reported to be in excess of $30 million by the beginning of this month. InsideClimate, however, reports that these costs had hit $42 million by the end of March with the inclusion of an additional $12 million spent by SDG&E, and that experts estimate the ongoing cost to be $750,000 to $1 million per day. SDG&E and Edison have both already stated that they intend to cover these costs through extra charges to customers rather than from utility company profits.

Additional costs related to the shutdown include at least $12.5 million in costs related to securing backup power – including a $2.5 million per month contract to reactivate the shuttered AES Huntington Beach natural gas power plant. The cost of offering discounts to customers for reduced energy use and advertising to promote conservation could is currently unknown, but could top $18 million. SDG&E intends to offer $6.4 million to commercial customers who cut their energy use.

The cost of enhanced regulatory oversight is another unknown, but the plant will be billed $273 per hour for each additional Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector called in to review ongoing work and investigation at the site.

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Costs resulting from the prolonged idling of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County are all but certain to exceed $100 million, the website InsideClimate News is reporting.

These expenses include daily purchases of alternate power at utilities normally served by the plant, increased oversight from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and customer-funded energy conservation incentives, as well as repair and replacement of equipment and parts. The final cost on that list has itself been estimated at $400-800 million.

In 2005, the plant’s operators were granted permission by the California Public Utilities Commission to spend up to $680 million installing new steam generators at the facility, which now appear to be defective in design after a radiation leak led to the discovery of hundreds prematurely worn tubes. Additional costs up to a total of $782 million were also approved. Plant operator Southern California Edison still has not submitted the final bill for the generators, installed in 2010 and 2011, for review.

The question remains: who will foot the bill for expenses related to the plant shutdown? Possible parties include equipment manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (for manufacturing defects), engineering firm Bechtel (for design issues), other contractors employed on the project (for improper installation), or electricity customers at Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric (if the plant was improperly operated).

Mitsubishi’s liability, however, is capped at $137 million under a 20-year warranty issued on the generators, far less than estimated repair costs. Its warranty also doesn’t cover the cost of replacement power, which plant operators reported to be in excess of $30 million by the beginning of this month. InsideClimate, however, reports that these costs had hit $42 million by the end of March with the inclusion of an additional $12 million spent by SDG&E, and that experts estimate the ongoing cost to be $750,000 to $1 million per day. SDG&E and Edison have both already stated that they intend to cover these costs through extra charges to customers rather than from utility company profits.

Additional costs related to the shutdown include at least $12.5 million in costs related to securing backup power – including a $2.5 million per month contract to reactivate the shuttered AES Huntington Beach natural gas power plant. The cost of offering discounts to customers for reduced energy use and advertising to promote conservation could is currently unknown, but could top $18 million. SDG&E intends to offer $6.4 million to commercial customers who cut their energy use.

The cost of enhanced regulatory oversight is another unknown, but the plant will be billed $273 per hour for each additional Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector called in to review ongoing work and investigation at the site.

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Comments
20

thank you for reporting on San Onofre, please also let the public know about the health risks involved in supplying only 12% of their power. The risks are too great, the nuclear industry is asking us to risk everything- our family, friends, property, homes, businesses, churches, schools, tourism, local economy, our food and water supply. All for something we don't really need. Most people don't know what could happen, or that San Onofre only supplies such a small amount of our power. They are afraid that without it we will be left in the dark, but that is just not the case. I feel that people need to know the facts so that they can make informed decisions regarding the safety of their children. Because what parent would be willing to risk the lives of their children, and their grandchildren for something so petty, if they knew the consequences? Children and fetuses are hundreds of times more susceptible to radioactive particles and radiation because their cells are still growing and dividing. The body mistakes Cesium 137 for Potassium, Stronium 90 for calcium and Radioactive Iodine for regular Iodine. Cesium 137 is absorbed by the muscles, Stronium 90 by the bones, and Radioactive Iodine is absorbed by the thyroid. All three cause cancer and mutations. These isotopes stay in the body indefinitely and can cause birth defects down the line in future generations. The particles settle on the ground and are ingested by humans and animals through the food supply, or breathed into the lungs and absorbed. There is no insurance coverage for a nuclear disaster, so all that we have would be lost. No one is going to come back into a nuclear dead zone. Evacuees would be living in camps, school districts and cities would be forced to absorb the costs of these evacuees. Tourism, which we rely so heavily on, would be wiped out. If we don't act now, while San Onofre is currently shut down, and Fukushima is so fresh in all of our minds, we may never get this opportunity again. We as a community, as parents and teachers, need to call for the permanent decommissioning of San Onofre (SONGS) before it is too late.

None

May 29, 2012

I agree the risks are too high! People over profits!

May 29, 2012

From what I gathered in the article, this plant is costing us close to $1B to maintain, including repairs and other costs. To make one home solar powered costs roughly $30,000 (without subsidies) (http://www.moneyedup.com/2011/01/how-much-does-it-cost-to-install-solar-panels/) which means that if San Diego invested $1B in solar energy that would cover the cost of 33,000+ San Diegans would be completely energy sustainable FOREVER.

Now this price is for someone to DIY at home by themselves. A massive government contract with subsidies would probably reduce the cost closer to $5,000 per house which would would power 200,000 houses forever.

It's time to start thinking outside the box with free energy solutions and put the effort in that will benefit San Diegans for generations to come. We need to stop feeding into the interests of corporations like Sempra Energy that keep us dependent on them so they can enjoy huge capital gains. It's time that the people stand up and say, "This is what WE want!"

May 29, 2012

Smart comment!

I hope this is a topic in the Mayoral race!

May 30, 2012

Oh and don't need a Fukushima here in San Diego with an old, buggy nuclear reactor on a fault line on the water...we need REAL clean energy, not one that could make the area uninhabitable for thousands of years :D

May 29, 2012

What a waste of $.

Just as when I had to weigh my options in regards to my old car... I had to weigh in the costs of trying to keep it running vs the costs of starting over with something that was not only cost effective but SAFER.

The costs to humans is too high when something goes wrong. We have seen many instances of nuclear power "failing."

All the above doesn't even address the fact that we still do not have a LONG term storage option for the waste that nuclear power leaves behind.

It is time to move beyond Nuclear power...

May 29, 2012

It's amazing to me when I found out how little energy actually comes from San Onofre in comparison to the high-level of danger an aging Nuclear Plant can be to the surrounding cities. And now that they believe they found a new fault line near the plant doubles my disbelief that people are actually considering this a viable option with Fukushima stoking its radioactive fires just across the Pacific. Convenience is the enemy when it comes to energy... conservation and conscious intelligence are where it's at, not the greed-fueled, narrowly educated viewpoints that demand these toxic steam engines be allowed to run America off the tracks.

May 29, 2012

Spot on sir.

May 29, 2012

Great analogy!

May 30, 2012

The Associated Press Radioactive bluefin tuna crossed the Pacific to US http://www.pulse.me/ap/8aef0b7418e546cb85f6436b3ff6b49e?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

Yay lets spend tonS of $ to pollute the environment. GREAT idea. <<<---INSERT SARCASM HERE

May 29, 2012

I added some more info below...

May 30, 2012

The risks outweigh the benefits, it's that simple.

May 29, 2012

Oh my Gosh... How much more of a face palm no brainer issue can you get? In SoCal we have SUN! Did you notice? Have you used sunglasses, a hat, visor in your car, sunscreen and or ezup at the beach? Are we NUTZ ?? We do not need to live with this catastrophic risk! Are you following the disaster at Fukushima? How many rooftop solar power systems would that cash they just tossed into those into those defective steam generators bought? How many more roof top solar systems would all of that REPAIR money bought?

If Germany can do this, Why can't we? Is the sun better in Germany?

May 29, 2012

If our elected Leaders will not even talk about this then we all need to ask why! Since this is San Diego, the answer probably has to do with MONEY and or donations!

May 30, 2012

From the Web: It is not just the Leaders, it is the Energy SYSTEM itself that is keeping the US from going Solar (of all flavors) much quicker...

Many, many more would install Solar if the Utilities paid those that installed Solar for the energy they put INTO the grid, at the very same rate that the Utility charges for that same Energy to folks that take Energy OUT of the Grid! By not paying the same amount, the Utility shareholders receive additional money they do not deserve and the folks that have installed solar end up with a much longer payback period! You can be sure if these Utilities operate their own Solar Farms, they will pay themselves every penny they can...

Remember Solar usually adds Energy during peak period of use (daytime) and it is only fair that if the Utility charges more for Energy used during that period (by using Smart meters) then they should also credit that exact amount to those with Solar that add Energy during those periods!

Remember we all already pay an additional fee for maintaining the Grid itself, so this rate ripoff is nothing but Utility "Profit" Scam...

It is time to STOP THE SOLAR ENERGY RIPOFF!

Why should shareholders get record profits while the only thing rate payers get is ever increasing bills?

May 30, 2012

RE: The question remains: who will foot the bill for expenses related to the plant shutdown?

I notice that the Shareholders of SCE, Sempra and or SDG&E are never mentioned, why is that? The "Utility" decided to try and sneak in a completely redesigned system without informing the NRC as they are required by law to due! In my mind that puts the responsibility on them not the rate payers who have no say in the operation or redesign of these nuclear turkeys!

Much more tech info here: San Onofre’s Steam Generator Failures Could Have Been Prevented http://is.gd/BJtn6e snip These implementing procedures created for 10 CFR. 50.59 require that the license be amended unless none of these eight criteria are triggered by any change made by Edison at San Onofre. If a single criterion is met, then the regulation requires that the licensee pursue a license amendment process.

By claiming that the steam generator replacements were a like-for-like design and fabrication, Edison avoided the more rigorous license amendment process. From the evidence reviewed, it appears that the NRC accepted Edison’s statement and documents without further independent analysis. In the analysis detailed below, Fairewinds identified 39 separate safety issues that failed to meet the NRC 50.59 criteria. Any one of these 39 separate safety issues should have triggered the license amendment review process by which the NRC would have been notified of the proposed significant design and fabrication changes.

May 30, 2012

ROSE: Residents Organized for a Safe Environment

NUCLEAR FREE CAL (NFC) PRESS RELEASE MAY 27 http://wp.me/p1VQox-fS snip STATEWIDE NUCLEAR SUMMIT GAINS ENERGY IN THE FIGHT FOR NUCLEAR SANITY

Representatives of more than 25 anti-nuclear activist and energy sustainability organizations gathered in San Clemente, California on Sunday, May 27, to discuss strategy and plan actions against nuclear power operations in California and to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency solutions. The coalition, meeting for the fifth time since Fukushima, is determined to continue the fight to stop San Onofre from operating this summer and beyond, with the understanding that excess energy already exists in the state to cover our needs.

May 30, 2012

Is this what we want our future to be like?

Radioactive Bluefin Tuna From Japan Caught Off California Coast http://is.gd/rbdewr snip

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan's crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away — the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.

"We were frankly kind of startled," said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that's still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments

+ More here: http://enenews.com/?p=33286

May 30, 2012

Top Cancer Doctor: Irresponsible to say cesium in California bluefin tuna is nothing to worry about — You have radioactive material in fish, which is being eaten by people (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/?p=33317

May 30, 2012

Should We Hide Low-Dose Radiation Exposures From The Public? http://is.gd/uMOoCC snip When fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster began appearing last Spring in U.S. air, rainwater, drinking water, and milk, many U.S. media outlets ignored the story.

It was a difficult story to cover. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was releasing raw data erratically, sometimes late on Friday afternoons, and reporters either had to possess radiation expertise or take a crash course in picocuries, millisieverts, MCLs and DILs.

May 31, 2012

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