Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) plans to eliminate nearly one-third of the staff at its troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (Songs) along the Pacific Coast in the northern-most end of San Diego County, CA. The staff reductions had already been articulated in SCE's pending general rate case, but with the two 2,200 MW Songs units out of service since January, the move is sure to spark more speculation about the long-term future of the plant. Both units have turned up excessive wear in part of the tubing on newly installed steam generators on both units (see Daily GPI, Feb. 7). The length of the outage has caused a re-emphasis on natural gas-fired generation in a state, which already relies on gas-fired power for the bulk of its in-state generation (see Daily GPI, Aug. 14). As part of the explanation for the staff reduction to 1,500 from the current levels above 2,100 positions, a utility spokesperson said the Songs steam generator issues "require SCE be prudent with its future spending while [the utility] and regulators review the long-term viability of the nuclear plant. The reality is that the Unit 3 reactor will not be operating for some time."
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