If San Onofre nuclear plant is restarted, who pays? via Los Angeles Times

The San Onofre nuclear plant must first be deemed safe to restart. But with costs already mounting, it’s unclear who would foot the bill.

Nearly seven months after the San Onofre nuclear power plant was closed because of a leak, officials are grappling with whether it makes financial sense to bring the plant fully back online, and if so, who should pay for the necessary repairs.

Fixing San Onofre is shaping up to be an expensive proposition, with the price tag jumping into the hundreds of millions of dollars if the plant’s massive steam generators require replacing.

But keeping San Onofre shuttered is also proving costly to the two utilities that own the plant. Southern California Edison had spent $117 million by June 30 to replace the power lost when San Onofre went offline, and San Diego Gas & Electric had spent $25 million, costs that ratepayers may be asked to pick up.

Imported energy is more expensive than electricity generated at San Onofre, which had provided about 20% of the power to large swaths of Southern California.

The first task for the utilities and federal regulators is to determine whether San Onofre can safely be restarted.

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