A pro-nuclear environmental organization, Californians for Green Nuclear Power wants to bring San Onofre Nuclear Generating station back to life. Gene Nelson, government liaison for the group contends that nuclear power is essential for the state to meet its clean energy targets in the coming years.
But can San Onofre, which has not produced electricity since January 2012 and is well into the third year of a 20-year decommissioning process, realistically get back up and running?
The solution, as CGNP sees it, is to replace the failed steam generators that led to the closing of San Onofre and get the facility back online.
But Tom Palmisano, the plant’s chief nuclear officer, says that would be unprecedented.
Working with the federal government’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission, San Onofre had its operating license changed in 2013 to prevent the station from putting fuel in its reactors.
In addition, Palmisano said, “I’ve not been maintaining equipment because it’s retired … There’s no salvage value. It’s all going to be removed and disposed of as part of decommissioning.”
Californians for Green Nuclear Power are also fighting the decision by Pacific Gas & Electric to close the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, saying the state is becoming too reliant on a fossil fuel — natural gas — for electricity and does not think renewable energy sources such as wind and solar can make up the difference as nuclear power goes offline.