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Edison Officials: San Onofre Nuclear Shutdown Costs $165M

The troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station may start its Unit 2 generators several months before the more heavily damaged Unit 3 generators—though officials still won't give out a timeline for restart.

As the shutdown of the beleaguered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station continues to cost Southern California Edison millions, officials of the parent company say they may not even restart one of the troubled units.

Edison International CEO Ted Craver said the that shut down the plant after a were less serious in Unit 2 than in Unit 3. Technicians haven't figured out how they would repair damage in Unit 3, but they may be able to run Unit 2 at lower levels for shorter-than-normal periods between maintenance outages.

"Unit 2 could restart months in advance of Unit 3—it would likely operate at reduced levels with mid-cycle outages," Craver said. "Inasmuch as the damage was more severe in Unit 3, it is unclear whether they can start Unit 3 without expensive repairs. At this stage, we have all the options on the table. These are complex technical issues."

Company officials discussed these issues in their second-quarter earnings filing with the Securities and Exchage Commission, which the company presented on a Tuesday afternoon conference call.

According to Edison International CFO William J. Scilacci, ongoing inspections, analysis and repairs of the damaged steam generator tubes have cost the company $48 million in the first half of 2012. Lost revenue from electricity generation has cost the company $117 million so far.

Officials wouldn't yet speculate on what the estimated cost of restarting Unit 3 because they said it was unclear what kind of repairs would be necessary. But Scilacci said it may cost about $25 million just to get Unit 2 back online at reduced power.

On a bright note for the company, the manufacturers of the faulty steam generators—Mitsubishi Heavy Industries—has a 20-year warranty on the generators up to $137 million, more in some cases, Scilacci said.

Also, Edison has some insurance that could kick in to cover part of the losses from the outage, Scilacci said.

In the mean time, the California Public Utilities Commission is set to decide Thursday whether it will choose to launch an investigation into whether it's worth the cost to ratepayers to keep moving forward on repairs.

Also, if the plant hasn't restarted by December, Edison has to notify the CPUC, which will start a whole different set of hearings and investigation, the ultimate purpose of which is the figure out whether it's worth it to restart the plant.

"I think it will be pretty straightforward about what it will take to have a viable entity," Craver said. "If not, there are other options on the table."

that manufacturing problems and faulty computer models at Mitsubishi led to the vibration and compromising of vital steam generators tubes, causing the January leak and subsequent shutdown.

The worn components are tubes that carry super-heated, highly pressurized radioactive steam. The thousands of tubes within the steam generator exchange heat from the radioactive water that circulates around the nuclear fuel rods and transfers it to boil pure water that makes steam. The steam turns turbines to make electricity.

For the full report that Southern California Edison submitted to the NRC, click here.

For hundreds of articles arranged by date providing a comprehensive history of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station over the past few years, visit our Patch topic page here.

Marc Schroeder August 01, 2012 at 04:10 PM
When you consider the fact that even IF we never have a major earthquake, a terrorist incident, equipment failure or a simple accident that causes SONGS to leak enough radiation to kill hundreds of thousands of Californians and render Southern California a inhabitable wasteland for thousands of years? You still have to do what no-one has yet came up with a plan for, which is devise a storage container which will last 10,000 years and then find a place to put it. This is a problem that us tax-payers and our descendents are stuck with, while the corporations that made their millions off of nuclear power, fly off into the sunset in their private jets. Yet, even in the face of these insurmountable storage problems and expenses, supporters of nuclear power are usually squealing the loudest against government support of any kind for renewable energy such as wind or solar. I would love to read a logical explanation for this neurotic mindset other than brain-washing by the right-wing propaganda machine.
PC August 01, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I have a dream that one day San Onofre Nuclear plant will be replaced by a giant Windmill and a speeding "Bullet Train" passing bye it...
Papa Rich August 01, 2012 at 06:04 PM
get rid of it its way too old. I remember when it was built we did everything possible to stop it...
Georgia Z August 01, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I think it is time for citizens to seriously become proactive and shut this nightmare down. I realize it is hard to fight giant corporations, but this is very very serious.
george gregory August 01, 2012 at 08:36 PM
you can store nuke stuff on the beach but you cant store a ladder on your truck stop snob rule shut it down

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