Los Angeles-based engineering and construction firm AECOM and Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions announced on 20 December they had been selected by Southern California Edison (SCE) as general contractor in the decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), through their joint venture, SONGS Decommissioning Solutions (SDS). SCE, which owns the majority stake in the plant shares responsibility for decommissioning with San Onofre co-owners San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside, and former co-owner the city of Anaheim. The contract is estimated at $4.4bn.
SONGS was one of California’s last two operating nuclear facilities. The other plant, Diablo Canyon, operated by Pacific Gas & Electric Co, is expected to close after the licences expire on its two reactors in 2024 and 2025. SCE announced in June 2013 that it would retire San Onofre units 2 and 3, and had begun preparations to decommission the facility. Decommissioning is financed through existing trust funds, including SCE’s share of the project as majority owner.
SCE president Ron Nichols said major dismantling of the plant will not begin before 2018, when state regulators are expected to complete an environmental review as required by the California Environmental Quality Act. “SCE will maintain strict oversight of the contractor and will continue to engage with the community and all stakeholders during decommissioning,” he noted.
AECOM, a fully integrated global infrastructure firm, designs, builds, finances and operates assets in more than 150 countries. The company has a proven track record providing decontamination and decommissioning services around the world, including at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge site. EnergySolutions specialises in nuclear plant decommissioning and waste management, and is currently in the demolition phase of decommissioning both the Zion and Dairyland NPPs.
SDS combines more than 50 years of global decommissioning experience between AECOM and EnergySolutions. The joint venture will be responsible for the dismantlement and decontamination work, restoration of the site and reduction of residual radioactivity to levels that allow for future site use.