California PUC to decide on latest San Onofre Nuclear decommissioning spending

The California Public Utilities Commission at its June 25 meeting will be looking at whether to approve a draft resolution issued for public comment on May 22 that would allow Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to disburse money from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) decommissioning trusts for decommissioning-related activities.

The request covers up to $340 million for SCE and $55 million for SDG&E from their SONGS decommissioning trust funds is approved.

This resolution would approve SCE’s request for disbursement of up to $180.3 million for its share of SONGS 2 and 3 decommissioning expenses incurred in 2013. This resolution also approves SCE’s request for the withdrawal of up to $159.7 million from its Nuclear Decommissioning Trust funds for its share of SONGS 2 and 3 decommissioning expenses incurred in 2014, subject to the reasonableness review which will be conducted in a separate case.

The resolution would also approve SDG&E’s request for disbursement of up to $55 million from its Nuclear Decommissioning Trust funds for its share of SONGS 2 and 3 decommissioning expenses incurred in 2013.

The resolution also provides for a reasonableness review of SCE’s and SDG&E’s nuclear fuel contract termination expenses incurred in 2013. 

SONGS Units 2 and 3 have not operated since January 2012 and are permanently shut. In January 2012, defects in the replacement steam generators for SONGS Units 2 and 3 resulted in cessation of operation of the plant. In June 2013, SCE announced the permanent shutdown of both units, and its intention to begin decommissioning activities. SCE retained EnergySolutions to prepare a detailed site-specific decommissioning report. Decommissioning is expected to occur over a 20-year period and estimated to cost about $4.4 billion.

SCE has ownership of 75.7% of SONGS Units 2 and 3, SDG&E owns 20%, and the City of Riverside owns 1.79%. All three entities are responsible for the plant’s decommissioning. Additionally, the City of Anaheim, a former owner of SONGS 2 and 3, also has a liability for decommissioning expenses of about 2.46%.

SCE and SDG&E maintain separate nuclear decommissioning trust (NDT) funds required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the Code of Federal Regulations. The trusts have been funded by utility ratepayers and the cities of Riverside and Anaheim to cover the expected costs of decommissioning the two units.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.