Posted by: twotrees | June 9, 2013

Le Gran Teton Sur la Mer

San Onofre power plantThis week Southern California Edison announced that it will be permanently closing the San Onofre Nuclear Generator Plant, situated on leased ground, north of  Camp Pendleton.  Operating since 1968, the SONGS facility has been the most visible and recognizable nuclear power station in California, an unavoidable visual blight along highway 5 south of San Clemente.

Because of its age, Edison made the decision to shutter the plant, which was costing $1 million per day in spite of the fact that it’s not producing power.  Built over nine years, the decommissioning and dismantling is no easy task, with risks and an estimated $3 billion price tag.

And then there’s the hazardous material to be dealt with.  Along with radioactive fuel rods and gigantic infrastructure that must be carefully disassembled, there’s “an estimated 3 million pounds of spent fuel…that is so radioactive that no repository exists that can handle it,” writes Ralph Vartabedian in today’s LA Times cover story on the subject.  So while we can rejoice in the fact that san Onofre will no longer be operating,  it will be years (perhaps decades) before the toxic site is remediated.

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