Shutting down San Onofre to take 20 years, cost $4.4B, NRC says

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san onofre nuclear power plant

Defective steam generators caused the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to shut down. Subsequent investigation found unusual wear in many of the tubes.

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SAN DIEGO – It will take 20 years and cost $4.4 billion to decommission the San Onofre nuclear power station, regulators say.

Activists and residents peppered the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Monday with pointed questions about the decommissioning process.

“How can you tell us a price when you can’t even tell us how long the waste will be there,” asked a woman at the meeting.

San Clemente resident Rochelle Becker said she thinks the process will end up costing much more than the commission’s estimate.

“The NRC has never met a budget. Why in the world should they now?” Becker asked rhetorically.

While the commission estimated that it would take 20 years to decommission the reactor, that doesn’t include removing the plant’s spent nuclear fuel rods. The spent nuclear waste will remain on the property for up to 100 years, under the current plan.

There is no federal nuclear waste storage site, so every nuclear reactor faces the same problem. At the end of their life cycle, nuclear power plant will become nuclear waste storage sites until that changes, according to the commission.

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