San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant To Be Retired

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Southern California Edison, the operator of the San Onofre plant north of San Diego, has decided to retire the reactors. ‘[The plant] has served this region for over 40 years. But we have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if [the plant] might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs,’  explained the company’s CEO. (Source: BBC News)

Image Credit: awnisALAN
Image Credit: awnisALAN

Operations at the plant had ceased in January of 2012 due to some technical problems, that resulted in a small radiation leak. Radioactive waste will continue to be stored at the site, but the reactors will be decommissioned. About $2.7 billion is available for the decommissioning. Over the next several months the number of employees at the plant will be reduced from 1,500 to 600.

“This is very good news for the people of Southern California. We have long said that these reactors are too dangerous to operate and now Edison has agreed.  The people of California now have the opportunity to move away from the failed promise of dirty and dangerous nuclear power and replace it with the safe and clean energy provided by the sun and the wind,” said Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth.  (Source:

On May 28, it was reported that California senator Barbara Boxer had stated an investigation may be necessary because of preliminary evidence that San Onofre officials might have mislead federal authorities.

Activists and concerned citizens are undoubtedly happy about the plant’s retirement. Some critics have said its location in a seismically active area made it too vulnerable and that its proximity to population centers was dangerous. Another criticism is that the technology and design are outdated. The soon to be shuttered plant provided power to about 1.4 million homes in the area.

Yesterday, it was reported that a new nuclear power project in Iowa had been abandoned.

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Jake Richardson

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