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San Francisco, CA - Southern California will be safer thanks to today’s announcement that San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant will shut down for good. Southern California Edison’s decision underscores what we’ve known all along – that energy efficiency, conservation and alternate energy sources are much safer and cheaper for the public and ratepayers.
Since long before the discovery, in early 2012, of thousands of faulty tubes in the steam generators, San Onofre nuclear plant has posed a safety risk for Californians. On the ocean, near earthquake fault lines, with 8 million Californians in neighboring communities, San Onofre should never have been built where it stands today. The Fukushima accident reminded the world that it is impossible to have a truly fail-safe plan to prevent a radioactive release at a nuclear plant.
Moreover, San Onofre’s troubles posed mounting costs for investors and ratepayers. Taxpayers have already subsidized our nation’s nuclear power plants for years by covering insurance costs in the case of a severe accident. In the case of San Onofre, ratepayers are on the hook to spend $780 million on the new steam generators installed in 2009 and 2010 – the same steam generators that failed only two years later. And while the plant has been offline, Southern California Edison has spent an additional $500 million on repairs and expensive backup power.
Southern California Edison’s decision today allows California regulators to shift their attention to where it should have been all along: supplying the region with safer, cheaper electricity alternatives.
Moving forward, state officials must ensure that the decommissioning of San Onofre is done quickly and safely, and that the long-term storage of the radioactive waste on site at the plant is protected for decades to come.
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