Customers continue paying for inactive nuke plant

SAN ONOFRE, CALIF. – San Onofre Nuclear Power Station has been offline for exactly one year but rate payers continue to pay Southern California Edison for its maintenance.

Gary Headrick, co-founder of San Clemente Green, a citizen action group, has been fighting the possibility of restarting the power plant since it shut down.

“A year ago today, we narrowly escaped a major catastrophe,” Headrick said.

A small radiation leak from a pinhole-sized tear in the one of the steam generator tubes forced Southern California Edison to shut it down.

“When they shut it down and tested the tubSAN O PICes, eight of the tubes did actually burst,” said Headrick. “It’s just not worth the risk. We don’t need it. We’ve lived without it for a year.”

Headrick also said he doesn’t trust the latest proposal by SCE to restart one of the power generators at 70 percent.

“Our concern about unit two is that they have no reason to experiment with our lives that way,” he said.

Public utilities advocate attorney David Peffer agrees.

“The utilities took a gamble on bringing these steam generators with Mitsubishi, who had no experience with these kinds of generators,” Peffer said. “That was a $700 million gamble that back fired.”

Peffer said SCE collected about $300 million from rate payers in 2012.

“We don’t think rate payers should bare the burden of bad decision by the utilities,” Peffer said.

But for those who live nearby the energy plant, the matter is much more important than money.

SCE will hold a public meeting on February 12 in Capistrano Beach to demonstrate what they believe is the safest way to start producing electricity again and get San Onofre back online.

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