If you’ve ever driven down Highway 5 going to San Diego, you’ve probably seen the San Onofre nuclear power plant. There’s been a lot of turmoil over it lately since evidence of a nuclear leak has come out. Whether you’re talking about powering homes or electric cars, it does make for a difficult situation for nuclear power ever since the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan two years ago. Southern California is now relying on imported energy because of the prolonged outage of the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS) that will now be closed permanently.
The two nuclear reactors at San Onofre have been in place there for many years in the northern part of San Diego County and within the Camp Pendleton military grounds. The reactors have become iconic symbols in the area, similar to surfers riding waves about a mile off the coastline of the San Onofre State Beach. Southern California has met the constraints with “significant refinements” to demand response programs, according to a US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) report, as well as installing more capacity resources. The plant is used by Southern California Edison for power in its coverage region; the utility will have to find other ways to replace the 2,200 megawatts that the nuclear plant provided.
According to the LA Tmes: “The decision to decommission the San Onofre nuclear power plant doesn’t end its saga, which instead promises to drag on for decades. There are long-term uncertainties about where to find replacement power for Southern California Edison customers and how long to allow the plant to take up beach space in Camp Pendleton before demolishing it. Before that, though, the state’s Public Utilities Commission will have to decide who should pay for the fiasco that led to San Onofre’s early retirement.”