By Eric Heinz
The final quarterly Community Engagement Panel meeting of the year discussed at length some of the economic factors regarding the decommissioning of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
An economic study regarding decommissioning was conducted by Beacon Economics and presented by company representative Dustin Schrader during the meeting in Oceanside.
In the report, Beacon identified $1.4 billion in labor income and $185 million in local and state tax revenue from the decommissioning for California between the years 2013 and 2026, the estimated time of complete decommissioning. The report also stated about 20,000 jobs will be created for state residents in the same timeframe.
SCE officials maintain the cost of decommissioning will be $4.4 billion with more than three-fourth of it coming from the taxpayers.
Another figure Beacon provided from similar studies is the market value of home prices increases roughly 6.4 percent after nuclear power plants are removed from their site.
San Clemente City Councilman Tim Brown, who is the vice chairman of the CEP, said the report gave interesting information but whether it will have any economic effects on San Clemente remains to be seen.
“I think what we’re seeing is an offsetting effect,” Brown said. “Any jobs that comes in (for decommissioning), there’s going to be people who go to hotels and restaurants will see more business. We lost a lot of that when SONGS closed.”
Brown said he doesn’t think the property values will rise too much, as the “positive effects” of San Clemente already outweigh the presence of SONGS.
“Maybe they will in 50 years when people are buying homes and they don’t have to worry about it, but I don’t know how many people thought about it in the first place,” Brown said. “It was an interesting report, but I don’t know how much it affects local decision making.”
SCE is currently in the process of examining subcontractor bids for the deconstruction of the nuclear power plant. The final bids are expected to be announced sometime in spring 2016.
Spent Nuclear Fuel
Storing the spent nuclear fuel onsite at SONGS is always a contention among members of the public, and last week’s meeting was no exception. During the meeting, CEP members voiced their own concerns and provided evidence of their intent to convince legislators and federal government officials to find a permanent solution.
“If we’re going to make this happen, there are critical political activities that need to happen at the state and local level,” Victor said. “It’s pretty clear that this can’t happen until there’s a change in federal law. Until very recently, the federal politics were not lined up to do this.” —David Victor, Ph.D., chairman of the Community Engagement Panel
Southern California Edison has continued to battle the storage site in litigation and through letters to the Department of Energy, the federal cabinet responsible for the final resting place of spent nuclear fuel.
David Victor, Ph.D., the chairman of the CEP, touched on the issues of permanent fuel storage and said alternative options to Yucca Mountain and other locations may need to be explored if federal policies and the DOE doesn’t move forward with proposals.
“Part of our task here is to create some urgency around the need for this and build public support so people can see that this is not just a special-interest, niche topic, but this should be federal priority,” Victor said.
Victor said political actions have stalled the potential for finding a permanent facility.
“If we’re going to make this happen, there are critical political activities that need to happen at the state and local level,” Victor said. “It’s pretty clear that this can’t happen until there’s a change in federal law. Until very recently, the federal politics were not lined up to do this.”
Transportation issues also must be addressed before the fuel can be sent to other facilities, Victor said.
The next CEP meeting will take place in either February or March.
To view the full economic study and the slides from the meeting, visit www.songscommunity.com under “Decommissioning Documents and Information.” CEP meetings are also streamed live on the website.