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Shutting down: Two reactors inside San Onofre Nuclear Plant to be retired

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors at the controversial San Onofre Nuclear Plant will be retired. According to Southern California Edison, the two nuclear reactors will take years to be fully out of commission. The decision is being welcomed by environmentalists, who say the plant has many dangerous structural flaws. The seaside plant between Los Angeles and San Diego has been shut down since January of 2012.
 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The unit has been shut down since the detection of a leak in one of the steam generator tubes on January 31. Unit 2 is also off line for inspections, and Unit 1 has been decommissioned.

SoCal concluded that questions over when, or if the plant might return to service was neither beneficial for customers -- or investors, according to Edison International CEO Ted Craver. SoCal added that its "top priority will be to ensure a safe, orderly, and compliant retirement" of these two reactors.

Local activist Donna Gilmore excitedly welcomed the news. "Finally! This is amazing," Gilmore said. "Didn't expect this quite this way. This is great news." Gilmore has been working with local groups in San Diego and Los Angeles to educate others on what she considered the dangers of the whole nuclear industry.

Gilmore says the issues at San Onofre have "kind of woke up the community in California and it's growing. This is just the beginning as far as I'm concerned."

California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) President Michael R. Peevey, in the meantime called the decision "understandable," saying the closure of the plant "will require even greater emphasis on energy efficiency and demand response programs." Utility companies will also need to add transmission upgrade and find new generation resources.

"He did the right thing for the people of Southern California and the right thing financially for Southern California Edison," Solana Beach activist Torgen Johnson said, who says he hopes the utility can invest in safer energy technologies.

"Let's do the right thing and turn this Cold War-era relic mistake into a really progressive, clean energy-based solution," he said.

There's a downside to the decision, as the shutdown will also mean job loss. Staff at SONGS will be reduced from approximately 1,500 to approximately 400 employees before the end of the year.

San Onofre produced enough power for 1.4 million homes before its closure. It is owned by SoCal Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside.

Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, says that she's relieved by the news.

"This nuclear plant had a defective redesign and could no longer operate as intended. Modifications to the San Onofre nuclear plant were unsafe and posed a danger to the eight million people living within 50 miles of the plant," Sen. Boxer said in a written statement.

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