On January 31, 2012, San Onofre reactor number three leaked radioactive steam into the air, prompting a shutdown of the plant. Inspections found premature wear and degradation in some 3,000 of the tubes in the recently-replaced steam generators.
The CPUC hearings began in late 2012 to determine who should foot the bill for the problems at the beleaguered plant. The World Business Academy (parent organization of the Safe Energy Project) gained intervenor status with the CPUC in order to help make the case against restarting the dangerous steam generators and running San Onfore at reduced power, as Edison was proposing. The Academy brought its financial and technological expertise to the hearings, confronting Edison’s attempts to avoid paying for its mistakes by charging ratepayers for the purchase of faulty steam generators and for electric power that was never delivered.
The power plant was never reopened. Edison announced plans to retire the plant permanently on June 7, 2013, stating,
[…] we have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if SONGS might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs.
– Ted Craver, Chairman & CEO Edison International, Parent company of Southern California Edison
As of March 27, 2014 a settlement agreement refunding the ratepayers $1.4 billion has been reached. This final settlement comes after a minuscule $94 million proposed settlement was rejected by the commissioners of the CPUC. The Academy argued in favor of rejecting this initial settlement, arguing instead for a refund of $1.5 billion. The $1.4 billion settlement was unanimously approved by the five CPUC Commissioners, granting refunds to all Edison ratepayers for this failed nuclear power plant. (Read the press release here)
The Safe Energy Project considers the $1.4 billion refund a victory for Edison customers and the permanent closure of San Onofre a landmark for insuring the health and safety of the citizens of California.
With the closure of San Onfore, the Safe Energy Project has ramped up its Close Diablo Canyon Campaign with the goal of shutting down this dangerous nuclear plant which is located near 13 earthquake faults and is at risk of a Fukushima-like earthquake, tsunami and meltdown. A nuclear catastrophe of this magnitude would devastate the Central Coast of California and send a plume of radiation into the densely-populated Los Angeles area.
The California Moonshot Project is the our proposal for a future free of all nuclear and fossil fuel for California. It is time we moved past the energy systems of the past and into the 100% renewable energy future.