Ailing San Onofre nuclear plant downsizes staff

August 21, 2012 - 12:36 AM

ROSEMEAD, Calif. (AP) — Southern California Edison plans to cut 730 employees at the ailing San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a decision that follows two years of analysis that included comparisons to similar nuclear plants, utility officials said Monday.

The plant has been closed since January because of excessive wear to tubes that carry radioactive water, and the company said necessary repairs and strict California environmental and regulatory standards have increased the overall cost of delivering electricity to customers.

"The steam generator issues at SONGS also require that SCE be prudent with its future spending while SCE and regulators review the long-term viability of the nuclear plant. The reality is that the Unit 3 reactor will not be operating for some time," utility officials said in a statement.

A three-month federal probe blamed a botched computer analysis for generator design flaws that ultimately resulted in heavy wear to the alloy tubing.

The company vowed to fully maintain all safety commitments with the remaining 1,500 employees. The reductions are due to begin after September.

The plant located between Los Angeles and San Diego is co-owned by San Diego Gas & Electric.

Southern California Edison serves 4.9 million customer accounts within Central, Coastal and Southern California.