Friday, June 14, 2013

San Onofre Closure a Financial Decision, Nuclear Power Far From Over, Says

I don't see anything wrong with shutting down nuclear power plants like San Onofre in southern California because of cost consideration, not because of safety consideration. A shutdown is a shutdown.

From newsletter (6/14/2013), part:

But the big “upset” story this week—for those not lured away by the sexier news of the NSA’s digital surveillance reach—is the permanent closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant and the ensuing regulatory battle Edison International (EIX) will have to fight over who is going to foot the bill here. It will cost around $3.4 billion to retire the nuclear plant. The plant is owned by Southern California Edison, which has invested $2.1 billion in San Onofre’s two nuclear reactors, and now finds that it could end up paying $1.3 billion in refunds for customers who paid since the plant stopped producing power in January last year when the reactors were shut down after a radioactive leak was discovered.

The San Onofre story is the continuation of a story that began in earnest when the shale gas boom turned nuclear endeavors into economic nightmares. This year has seen the closure of four other commercial nuclear power units so far. Since then the idea of possibly restarting the reactors proved to come along with costs that wouldn’t be recouped and significant regulatory hurdles. Existing nuclear reactors are becoming increasingly too expensive to maintain, and questions of safety rise in tandem with costs that question commercial viability. But it’s not the beginning of the end for nuclear; it’s just the beginning of the beginning, and a future (still quite a long way off) where small modular reactors (SMRs) will take center stage.

The "San Onofre" link in the article goes to June 7, 2013 Bloomberg article, in which the CEO of Southern California Edison says it's cheaper to buy power on the open market:

“It no longer makes sense to restart San Onofre,” Craver said today. Buying power on the open market became the cheaper alternative because a year of delay cut too deeply into its operating life, he told reporters. The reactor license expires in 9 years. Edison was spending $30 million a month preparing for the restart, he said.

The Obama administration is funding Babcock Wilcox to design and commercialize small modular reactors.


VyseLegendaire said...

For those with any real knowledge of financial situation on the globe, it was glaringly obvious that they would be the cause of the shutdown of modern industrial implements.

Anonymous said...

Financial because they don't have the bazillions required to shut the damn things down properly and cure all the people poisoned by it.

Anonymous said...

There is not enough money spent on research on how to accelerate the decay of nuclear waste: the plan is to just wait until it becomes someone else problem.

Also, no private enterprise would run an npp if they had to pay for their nuclear waste disposal so, financially speaking, there should be not a single npp operating ion the planet.


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