Costs mount for CA nuke outage
The cost for the prolonged outage at the damaged San Onofre nuclear power plant in California is coming in at just over $1 million a day topping off so far at $317 million for the year, said the plant’s primary owner, utility Southern California Edison (SCE).
Inspection and repairs of giant steam generators inside the two-unit nuclear plant, which has been offline since January after they found a radiation leak, have cost the utility $96 million, said officials of SCE’s parent, Edison International.
Power to replace lost output from the 2,150-megawatt plant has cost an additional $221 million, SCE officials said.
Last month, SCE submitted a plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to restart San Onofre Unit 2 and operate it at 70 percent of capacity for an initial 5-month period, at which point it would halt production and look for signs of the premature tube-to-tube wear that led to the January leak in Unit 3.
It remains unclear if and when the regulator might allow SCE to move forward with its plan or whether the plant would ever come back online fully, said Edison Chief Executive Ted Craver.
“It’s not clear at this time whether the units can be repaired, and it appears complete replacement of the steam generators would take some years,” Craver said.
In an attempt to recoup some costs related to San Onofre, SCE in September submitted a $45 million invoice to Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, which manufactured the steam generators.
SCE has a 20-year warranty with Mitsubishi for the steam generators, and officials said they plan to send additional invoices to the company.
Last month, the company also submitted an initial claim to Nuclear Electric Insurance Ltd, an industry-sponsored fund, for loss recovery under its outage insurance.
“We will remain diligent in recovering costs incurred from the outage from warranties and insurance,” Craver said.
Still, officials said there was no guarantee the utility would recover money from either the warranty or the insurance company.