The minority 20% share in the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (Songs) lessens the overall costs and operational impact, but Sempra Energy and its San Diego Gas and Electric Co. (SDG&E) combination utility will deal with material consequences of the decision, according to officials.
Articles from Onofre
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and others are politicizing the almost 18-month shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California, Edison International CEO Ted Craver said Wednesday. The “favorable economics” for restarting the 2,200 MW plant are diminishing with the passage of time and no action by federal regulators, he told financial analysts in New York City.
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%.
A decision about whether to retire the still idle San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California could come by the end of this year, the CEO of Edison International, the majority owner/operator, said Tuesday.
The top executives that own and operate the idle San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (Songs) in Southern California indicated in separate conference calls on Tuesday that the plant’s fate remains uncertain, along with the 2,200 MW associated with it, which puts uncertainty into the state’s summer energy plans.
California’s natural gas power generation bill may be higher than normal in the first months of 2013 as the 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was shuttered. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chair Allison Macfarland this week was at the plant for an update but hasn’t indicated when at least one of the two units would restart. Majority owner/operator Southern California Edison Co. has asked the NRC to allow at least Unit 2 to come back to 70% of capacity.
The fate of one of two major nuclear power plants in California remained uncertain at year-end as federal regulators are prodding the operator of the idle 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (Songs) for more analysis of the steam generator tubing problems that have kept Songs’ two units shut down for nearly a year.
California’s electricity grid operator last week indicated it was making plans for a long-term loss of the 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (Songs), which is now in its eighth month out of service with no prospects for a resumption of operations.
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.”
While there were assurances Monday that the idled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (Songs) is not going to be closed permanently, there also were no indications when at least one of its two units may be back online. As a result, California energy planners need to assume stepped-up natural gas-fired generation will be needed to make up for the 2,200 MW nuclear facility’s absence this summer.