$4.4bn SONGS decommissioning plan revealed

4 August 2014

Southern California Edison (SCE) has asked the 18-member San Onofre Community Engagement Panel to review its draft decommissioning plan, environmental evaluation and updated cost estimate to decommission the San Onofre nuclear plant.

The Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) sets out a timetable for decommissioning work, which is expected to begin in 2015 and will cost an estimated $4.4 billion.

This estimate (from EnergySolutions) includes the cost to decommission San Onofre Units 2 and 3, manage and store the used nuclear fuel until it is accepted by the US Department of Energy, and restore the site for future use, subject to an easement agreement with the US Navy, which owns the land.

The decommissioning trust funds established by San Onofre's owners now contain about $4.1 billion. Based on the updated cost estimate, anticipated cost escalation and future trust fund earnings, this means that San Onofre decommissioning is now "fully funded" and no further customer contributions are required, says Chris Thompson, SCE vice president of Decommissioning.

According to the PSDAR, decontamination of SONGS will be split into six phases. SCE is currently in the second phase - decommissioning planning and site modification, which is expected to last until mid 2015. This will be followed by decontamination and dismantling of the major components, including reactor vessel internals, vessel, head, steam generators, pressurizer, and main piping by around September 2022.

Building decontamination is expected to be completed during 2024. Licence termination (except for the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations) is expected by 2032. Site restoration is expected to be completed in 2052, following removal of the spent fuel and demolition of the ISFSI.

"We look forward to receiving feedback from the Community Engagement Panel on this blueprint for decommissioning," said Thompson.

After receiving feedback from the community panel, which plans a public meeting in September, SCE plans to submit the PSDAR and supporting documents to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, well ahead of the June 2015 deadline.

Photo: San Onofre nuclear generating station

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