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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

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Update on SONGS Shutdown and Expenses

Southern California Edison has created a communications channel to share information and updates with the surrounding community regarding the decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating facility.  From Edison:

Southern California Edison (SCE) announced June 7, 2013 that it will permanently retire Units 2 and 3 of its San Onofre nuclear plant. SCE concluded that continuing uncertainty about when or if San Onofre Unit 2 might return to service was not good for customers, investors or the need to plan for the region’s long-term electricity needs.

Current Status

SCE formally notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on June 12, 2013 that it had permanently ceased operation of Units 2 and 3 on June 7, 2013. The notification, called a Certification of Permanent Cessation of Power Operations, sets the stage for SCE to begin preparations for decommissioning. Decommissioning is a well-defined NRC process that involves transferring the used fuel into safe storage, followed by the removal and disposal of radioactive components and materials. Longer term, this process calls for reducing residual radioactivity to a level that supports termination of the NRC license. SCE will provide decommissioning updates at www.songscommunity.com.

Below is a recent communication from Edison, the most important takeaway being that Edison intends to seek recovery of its unreimbursed expenses resulting from the SONGS shutdown from California utility ratepayers.  According to the San Clemente Patch article, that amount could exceed $1 billion dollars!

“If a utility asset must be retired before the end of its expected life, the utility recovers from customers its reasonable investment costs,” Edison wrote.

Nothing is finalized yet.  This process first requires regulatory approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, and is dependent in part on whether Edison can recover damages from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the manufacturer of the allegedly faulty components.  (See the Notice of Dispute filed against Mitsubishi here (PDF).)

If you can’t read the text above, you can read the original letter to SCE customers here (PDF).

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