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California nuclear plant to shut: a case of unforgiving nuclear economics

Southern California Edison is shutting the remaining two reactors at San Onofre, citing high repair costs and an NRC ruling that the utility says would delay reactor restarts.

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The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), a nuclear power plant set into the seaside bluffs in northern San Diego County, is closing after the high cost of repairs and a Nuclear Regulatory Commission board ruling prompted its owner, Southern California Edison, to pull the plug on the 45-year-old facility.

The announcement Friday that San Onofre’s two functioning reactors were being shut down brings to four the number of reactors that nuclear utilities have slated for closure since last November. Meanwhile, nuclear utilities have three new reactors on the drawing boards.

At least for now, "we're losing them faster than we're building them," quips David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer by training who focuses on nuclear-energy issues at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington.

 
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