SCE Outlines San Onofre DECON Decommissioning Plan

Southern California Edison has revealed its tentative plan to decommission the San Onofre nuclear plant, which permanently closed last year after its steam generators experienced premature wear.

The utility presented its decommissioning timeline and cost estimate to the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel Friday. The plan anticipates major decommissioning work will start in early 2016 and will take about 20 years to complete. A study by EnergySolutions estimated the costs to complete the work will total $4.4 billion, which SCE believes will be covered by the plant's $4.1 billion decommissioning trust fund and its future appreciation. (EnergySolutions will also help dispose of low-level waste from the site.)

Where other shuttered plants have opted for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's SAFSTOR approach, which delays dismantlement for years until contamination levels naturally decline, SCE said it favors the agency's DECON framework. Under it, the utility will remove or decontaminate equipment and structures until requirements are met for the termination of the reactors' licenses. According to the plan, reactor internals segmentation at SONGS is expected to begin in late June, and large component removal is expected to begin four years later. Eventually, the site will be restored for future use, subject to an agreement with the Navy, which owns the land.  

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