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The first round of layoff notices for employees of the now-permanently shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station went out yesterday (June 26). Six hundred non-union employees at the plant were handed walking papers, and another 500 jobs will be slashed from the current workforce of 1,500, mostly union employees in the coming year.

“The premature shutdown of San Onofre is very unfortunate,” said Pete Dietrich, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer at plant operator Southern California Edison. “We have an extraordinary team of men and women. We appreciate their years of dedicated service and will continue to extend to them the utmost respect and consideration.”

Edison will meet later with representatives from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Utility Workers Union of America, which represent the unionized workforce on site, to discuss further layoffs. The company has said it will host a job fair for displaced workers.

A core crew of several hundred workers is expected to remain on site indefinitely, as full decommissioning of the plant will take years and as yet there still exists no plan to relocate tons of radioactive nuclear waste generated during the plant’s decades of operation.

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Visduh June 30, 2013 @ 3:31 p.m.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot imagine how/why a nuclear power plant like that one can need 1500 people on site to run it. Unlike other plants, there are no coal trains arriving and departing that must be unloaded, there are no gas lines to monitor, and no wastes to be removed every few hours or days. Could that whole operation have been an even bigger boondoggle than we ever imagined?

But there's an interesting point here. Utility employees have tended to enjoy job security far better than anything outside of government. Edison will have mass demoralization of its non-union workforce when they realize that their implied lifetime tenure jobs are not really that safe after all.

Edison will negotiate about union jobs, huh? Something tells me that the unions will not just roll over and accept layoffs. They'll demand and probably get some very generous buy-outs for those who want them, and will then make sure that those who want to remain employed by the company will do so, likely by transfer to other locations and jobs.


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