Southern California Edison’s problem-plagued San Onofre nuclear plant near San Clemente will stay offline through the summer as the utility continues to work on a solution to the plant’s faulty tubes, which carry radioactive water.
When at full operation, the plant provides 19 percent of Edison’s power, according an article on the Los Angeles Times website. In the meantime, a post on the BusinessWeek website says, Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, which also gets power from the plant, will be paying $2.5 million a month to buy power from two older generating plants that have been brought out of moth balls to make up the shortfall.
Edison officials say the utility should be able to make it through the summer without any power shortages, excepting for extreme circumstances.
The plant has been closed since January, when extraordinary wear on the tubes was discovered. Before reopening, must pass muster with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has told Edison it must find out exactly what is causing wear and tear on the tubes.
Stressing safety over timelines, Ted Craver, CEO of Edison International, So Cal Edison’s parent company, projected that the earliest the utility might be able to submit a restart plan to the commission is the end of July, and it could then take another month for the NRC to rule on the plan.
The commission has set June 18 for a hearing on the findings from the plant so far.
The question not answered in the articles, or by Edison in a press release sent out Friday, is whether and how much of that extra $2.5 million per month will be passed on to rate payers.
Meanwhile, my colleague Kate McGinty, who covers public safety, said with daily triple-digit weather, she’s already noticing an uptick in power outages in the valley, although Edison International officials said any outages here are in all likelihood not related to San Onofre.
Either way, batten down your air conditioners, campers, it’s going to be a bumpy summer.