There will be no quick remedy for restarting one of the units at idled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California following a recent decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission‘s (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) that a public hearing will be required on a request from SONGS’s operator Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) to partially restart Unit 2. This follows utility warnings that without a restart this year of the one unit, a decision may have to be made by the end of this year on whether SONGS will be retired (see Daily GPI, May 2). There is now a 25-day period for appeal of the board’s decision. As the largest baseload source of electric generation in Southern California with 2,200 MW, the loss of SONGS would require other types of generation, including more natural gas-fired capacity and various efficiency programs, particularly in the summer (see Daily GPI, March 26; Feb. 28). SCE, which is the majority owner/operator of SONGS, had been hoping to obtain swift approval to restart at 70% capacity Unit 2. Sempra Energy‘s San Diego Gas and Electric Co. owns 20% of SONGS and a Riverside, CA, municipal utility holds about 3%.

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