State Regulators Reopen Case On San Onofre Nuclear Plant

by Ivan Penn, Los Angeles Times

San Onofre nuclear plant

By Luke Jones from Anchorage / Creative Commons

State regulators announced Monday that they have reopened the case involving the premature shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant, which closed after a replacement steam generator leaked.

The California Public Utilities Commission said it is reevaluating the settlement agreement that left ratepayers on the hook for $3.3 billion of the cost of closing the plant. The commission is giving parties involved in the case the opportunity to comment on whether the agreement was reasonable given that representatives of the plant’s primary owner, Southern California Edison, engaged in secret talks with regulators over the closed nuclear plant.

“This is really a remarkable development,” said Michael Aguirre, a San Diego lawyer who has criticized the settlement as unjust. The cost of closing the power plant “really should have been borne by the investors.”

The ruling follows a $16.7-million fine in December against Edison for failing to disclose the talks. Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval and Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey issued the ruling reopening the case.

“In light of our December 2015 penalty levied against Edison … it is prudent to review whether the settlement reached before those disclosures remains in the public interest and in accordance with our settlement rules,” Sandoval said.

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