LOS ANGELES – The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant on the California coast is closing after an epic 16-month battle over whether the twin reactors could be safely restarted with millions of people living nearby, officials announced Friday.
Operator Southern California Edison said it will retire the twin reactors because of uncertainty about the future of the plant, which faced a tangle of regulatory hurdles, investigations and mounting political opposition.
With the reactors idle, the company has spent more than $500 million on repairs and replacement power. San Onofre could power 1.4 million homes. California officials have said they would be able to make it through the summer without the plant but warned that wildfires or another disruption in distribution could cause power shortages.
It wasn’t clear how electrical production from the plant would be replaced permanently. The California Public Utilities Commission said it will work with governments to ensure Southern California has enough electricity, which will require increased energy efficiency and conservation during peak usage, as well as upgrades to transmission and generation resources.
The plant between San Diego and Los Angeles hasn’t produced electricity since January 2012, after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of tubes that carry radioactive water.