By Eric Heinz
An arbitration panel of three members from the International Chamber of Commerce awarded Southern California Edison (SCE), the majority stakeholder of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and minority stakeholders $125 million from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the failure of its steam generators in 2012.
SCE was also ordered to pay the legal fees of Mitsubishi, and therefore would receive a net share of the decision of $52 million. In the arbitration process that began in 2013, SCE originally sought $7.6 billion from Mitsubishi.
The panel’s decision was 2-1.
“We had hoped the award would more accurately reflect the true magnitude of damage caused by Mitsubishi’s defective steam generators,” SCE president Ron Nichols said in a press release on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the arbitration panel concluded that the contract’s prescribed liability limit should be respected and no additional award can be granted despite the harm caused.”
What effect this could have on how much the decommissioning process will cost is yet to be determined.
“(SCE) doesn’t want to speculate until we’ve thoroughly reviewed the decision,” spokesperson Maureen Brown said. “It’s uncertain what the steps are going forward until the redacted decision is made publicly available.”
Brown said she could not elaborate on whether this will have an impact on the total cost for decommissioning. The ratepayer amount is currently being reviewed by the California Public Utilities Commission. Currently, ratepayers are responsible for $3.3 billion (or 70 percent) of the costs to fully decommission the nuclear power plant.
“The tribunal found that damages were subject to contractual limitations on liability,” the decision read. Those limitations were set at $137 million.
Officials with the Utility Reform Network said in 2015 that money SCE collects from Mitsubishi will be split in half with the ratepayers. At the time, SCE was seeking $7.6 billion from the company for the faulty steam generators.
One of the members of the arbitration panel said in a dissenting opinion that SCE was entitled to $1 billion.
“As required pursuant to the protective order in the arbitration, the parties are conferring regarding the treatment of potentially confidential information in the decision,” the court report stated. “Subject only to redaction for confidential information, SCE expects to make the decision public when the parties reach agreement on redactions.”
The other owners with stock in SONGS are San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside.