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David Victor, Ph.D., chairman of the Community Engagement Panel, speaks during the quarterly meeting on Nov. 5 in Oceanside. Photo: Eric Heinz
David Victor, Ph.D., chairman of the Community Engagement Panel, speaks during the quarterly meeting on Nov. 5 in Oceanside. Photo: Eric Heinz

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 under “Decommissioning Documents and Information.” CEP meetings are also streamed live on the website.

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comments (9)

  • David Victor and Tim Brown are Edison Shills !

  • Lessons learner? The use of nuclear energy is too costly and too risky!

    Just last week, at an NRC meeting they were discussing the guidelines for implementation of 10CFR (Part 21) Reporting of Defects and Noncompliance.
    They stated: If a non US vendor refuses responsibility, then US purchaser accepts responsibility and the rule could not be used retroactively.

    How is it fair, that citizens/ratepayers be put on the hook for such bad decisions?
    The utility owners and executives should be the ones held financially liable.

  • The thin 5/8″ steel waste canisters Edison chose cannot be inspected, repaired or maintained and may crack and leak. Better quality thick casks 10″ to 20″ thick used in most of the rest of the world do not have these problems, but Edison refused to choose them. Existing thin canisters loaded starting in 2003 could leak in 5 years. Each of 50 spent fuel canisters contains more radiation (Cesium-137) than released from Chernobyl. See government and scientific evidence at Learn how you can help.

    • Why should anybody believe you or anything found on your website? Remember, it was YOUR website that had the video of the anti-nuke rally where the speaker lied about San Onofre’s (SONGs) emergency batteries claiming they were disconnected for 4 years (could you drive your car with the battery disconnected?). Your website that mistook the Refueling Pool for the Spent Fuel Pool, had the wrong burnup values for spent fuel, had an old video of an individual lying about fantastic, science fiction like deformities resulting from the Three Mile Island accident (remember the statement about a cow being born with its skeleton on the outside of its skin?), claims by so-called experts that Pressurized Water Reactors don’t have reactor vessel level indication (I showed you print outs of SONG’s vessel level indication), criticism of circulating water fish kills while failing to mention that SONGs has the only fish return system (where the vast majority of fish are safely returned to the sea) on the west coast, and referring to Helen Caldiott, a crack-pot, as an independent expert. Then there is the video of yourself claiming that if a leak develops in a spent fuel canister, we could experience a disaster worse than Fukushima. You have repeatedly declined the offer to explain the mechanism for this jaw dropping gaff nor have I seen any response from you to CEP Chairman, David Victor’s report detailing the fact that a spent fuel canister was allowed to leak for two years demonstrating a canister leak poses NO danger to the public. Recall also, no canister has ever leaked and the industry has been storing fuel like this since 1986.

      When we look at the statements of your followers we find an even greater lack of adherence to the truth. Former Community Engagement Panel member, Gene Stone, claimed at the first CEP meeting that 2000 Mega Watts of solar power, APART FROM ROOF TOP SOLAR, had come on line just since SONGs had shut down. At the same meeting he claimed TMI canisters were leaking…both statements are false.

      Rita Conn told a whopper at one of the CEP meetings claiming she had gotten into the plant. Gary Headrick has repeatedly made foolish claims that the tiny tube leak at SONGs ALMOST resulted in an accident worse than Fukushima, utter non-sense. Then there is Roger Johnson, the sultan of informational sewage who claimed North Korea has nuclear weapons aimed at SONGs and that a truck bomb from outside the perimeter could take out the Spent Fuel Pool. This latter claim is despite the fact that the pool is largely below grade, surrounded by a bomb blast barrier, several more feet of concrete beyond the blast barrier, and that the street level where this truck bomb would supposedly go off, is some 60 feet above the ground and any blast would be forced to change directions, go downhill through the many concrete structures and power line uprights, k-rails, chain link fences, and brick walls. He makes repeated charges of secrecy and then provides the very data he claims is secret from right off the NRC website. He then goes on to misuse the data because he doesn’t know how to interpret it or perhaps he deliberately mishandles it for propaganda purposes. Then there is Ace Hoffman who claimed there are literally a thousand ways to melt down a reactor plant and that it is as easy, or nearly so, as flipping the wrong switch or turning the wrong valve. When challenged to name this magical switch or valve, silence was the answer.

      So yes, the general public should take anything said or produced from your camp of activists with a large grain of salt. You all have a very bad track record on honesty and accuracy.

  • You can blame the decision to shut down Yucca Mt. on the anti-nukes. At the big April 1991 anti-nuclear rally where Ralph Nader spoke, anti-nuclear activists were instructed to oppose Yucca Mt. This was all based on their ant-nuclear philosophy as no studies had been completed at that time, most had not even begun. This was all part of the strategy of attacking and shutting down the nuclear industry. Because Jimmy Carter had unwisely stopped the reprocessing of spent fuel, the government promised to build a permanent repository and has been charging nuclear plants, who pass the costs on to consumers, for the opening of such a repository. Some states, like California, have passed laws to prevent the building of new nuclear plants UNTIL a permanent repository was opened…hence, anti-nuclear opposition to opening Yucca Mt.

    The anti-nukes have been successful in derailing this project and so the 10B or so spent on its design & construction (and passed on to consumers), has been wasted. Now the anti-nukes demand SCE use spent fuel casks that are NOT licensed in the U.S., have been denied a license to transport by the NRC, are too heavy for San Onofre’s crane equipment (meaning they cannot be used), and are NOT even double welded shut as are the canisters San Onofre intends to use. This is again, an anti-nuclear effort to cost the company more money and slow down the process as much as possible as a warning to future utilities that may be considering going nuclear. Indeed, if they were to get their way and SCE attempted to use the European casks, California could get stuck with the spent fuel when the NRC again, denies a license to transport the fuel in these casks. This would necessitate SCE purchasing perhaps the very canisters they are currently in preparation for using.

    The anti-nukes are sacrificing consumer pay checks and electrical grid reliability on the altar of their personal philosophical adherence. They dishonestly make all sorts of wild claims and false statements in hopes that something will resonate with the general public. They are fear mongers of the first order who have demonstrated their willingness to deceive the general public.

    I have worked at San Onofre for over 30 years but I write as a private citizen. I have neither the permission nor the blessing of Southern California Edison and the views herein are my own.

    • David,
      You continue to ignore the cracking issue with these thin canister. There are currently licensed thick casks in the U.S. that have been used much longer than the inferior thin canisters. If Edison wanted to buy a dry storage system that can be inspected, maintained, monitored and doesn’t crack they could and they know it. I have spoken to Tom Palmisano and NRC Director Mark Lombard. I have an email from Lombard that I shared with Tom and the CEP where Mark states the licensing process is 18 to 30 months max. If Edison wanted to use a safer thick casks they can. Areva will build them just as they have done at Prairie Island and other U.S. locations. You are taking what Edison says at face value and ignoring documented facts I have provided. The only reason I want thick casks is because I know the thin canisters can crack from our marine environment and there is no adequate plan to deal with this. It will be a costly mess in more ways than one for all if us when this happens.

      • “You continue to ignore the cracking issue with these thin canister.”

        No Donna, YOU continue to exaggerate the issue. There are no cracking canisters AND according to independent investigator and chairman of the CEP, David Victor, after reviewing all the data including that which you provided, he concluded in his report:

        Based on an extensive review and re-review of all the evidence I don’t see any support for these rapid corrosion, cracking and through wall penetration scenarios. Moreover, I note that EPRI has recently released a report that examines exactly this scenario. That report looks at the scenario that would unfold after conditions for cracking had been established and after a crack had initiated. How long would it take for a crack, then, to travel through the walls if the crack were not detected and stopped? EPRI’s answer is about 80 years.31

        This is in agreement with the clip you posted elsewhere where in answer to your question, the representative stated that AFTER the initiation of a crack (it takes years for crack initiation), it would take 86 years as a “most conservative” estimate, to go through wall. Begin at 29:15 for the relevant portion of this discussion.

        This is a long way from your 17 year cracking exaggeration and keep in mind that fuel has been stored thusly for almost 30 years. Furthermore, David Victor says:

        Results from an actual cask that has been allowed to leak slowly for 2 years show, as well, that intrusion of water and the formation of hydrogen gas can’t reach explosive levels (section 4.4.3, page 4-25). I learned two things from this work. First, there is simply zero basis for the highly emotive statements that I have seen in the press and various other locations for the view that long-term storage of the fuel on site at SONGS has put “another Fukushima” or “another Chernobyl” in our backyard. We do the public a disservice with such emotive language since it creates images that are not in any way rooted in the technical assessment of the real risks.

        This statement in his report is directed at YOUR exaggerations.

        There is ONLY one commercial nuclear plant in the U.S. that has the cast iron casks you prefer and mistakenly infer are superior to the ones the rest of the country uses. That is Surry and they accepted a number of different types as a kind of experiment and following this, no other plant has used this cask. The license for storage for this type is good only at Surry and thus, the casks you wish SONGs to use are NOT licensed for either storage or shipment in this country. Indeed, a license for shipment was attempted in the past and the NRC refused to license the cask YOU prefer Edison use.

        Furthermore, the casks you prefer are too heavy for the crane equipment at SONGs and therefore cannot be used. You conveniently ignore this reality in your attempt to deceive the public. Edison cannot and will not use the cast iron casks and you know it. Yours is simply an attempt to cost the company more and delay the process so that the anti-nuclear activists can claim nuclear is too expensive and has too many problems…problems that YOU activists create. Yours is also a warning to other utilities of the law suits and delaying tactics they can expect from activists should the utilities decide to go nuclear.

        The only facts you document are those that comport with your preconceived notions…you ignore the rest.

        You say: “The only reason I want thick casks is because I know…”

        Save the propaganda for your followers because your willful silence on the above facts tell a different story.

    • Regarding Yucca Mountain, there are technical problems with Yucca Mountain. For example, the DOE solution is to build titanium shields to stop the water from damaging the storage containers. They want to design and build these 100 years AFTER all the waste is stored there.

      The site is also not designed for high burup fuel and is already too small to hold all the waste.

      There are about 300 lawsuits pending. And Nevada doesn’t want the waste. Yucca was a political decision to dump the waste on Nevada. Nevada doesn’t even have a nuclear plant, yet they’re supposed to store the country’s nuclear waste?

      Transport is another huge problem. We have serious infrastructure problems and adding cracking canisters will only make the problem worse. Suggest you do some independent research and stop believing the nuclear industry propaganda websites.

  • You say: “Transport is another huge problem. We have serious infrastructure problems…”

    So is it now your desire to keep all fuel here at SONGs? Will you be announcing to the public your new view and position to keep all fuel here? Do your followers know this is your new solution?

    If not, what is the point of your above statement? At the first community engagement panel meeting, your followers expressed a desire to ship the fuel out ASAP. Now you claim, without any documentation whatsoever, that transport is a “huge problem”. Does this problem exist only when it is to be shipped somewhere that anti-nukes have already protested but that problems magically disappear when there is an unofficial, proposed site to ship to?

    So which is it? Your position seems to change as the different propositions arise; apparently you’re hoping nobody will see the contradiction in your statements. Please clarify for your readers your position on this issue.

    Also, these 300 lawsuits, how many of these are by anti-nukes again hoping to slow down the process and cost the industry more money?

    “The site is also not designed for high burup fuel…”

    Oh really? What is your evidence for that claim and what would the site need to do to be “designed” for high burn up fuel? San Onofre seems to have no trouble storing high burn up fuel and recall that David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists, no friend of nuclear, said your concerns about high burn up fuel were, to paraphrase charitably, unwarranted.

    I am pleading with you, stop deceiving the public on these issues. Have the courage to put your own self-aggrandizement aside and put the people of the city and state first.

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