San Onofre nuclear plant cutting 730 employees - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Onofre nuclear plant cutting 730 employees

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SAN ONOFRE (CNS) - Southern California Edison announced Monday it plans to eliminate about 730 positions at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station beginning in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, saying the plant's staffing and operating costs are higher than similar facilities.

The reduction will bring the plant's staffing level to about 1,500, according to Edison.

"This effort was initiated more than two years ago as part of the larger SONGS Excellence plan to align SCE's processes and staffing levels with the top performing nuclear operating plants in the industry and its benchmarked best practices," according to a statement from the Rosemead-based company.

San Onofre's two active reactors were both shut down in January. One was shut down for planned repairs while the other was shut down abruptly when on Jan. 31, a faulty piece of equipment leaked a small amount of radioactive steam. The leak led to the discovery that many more tubes were wearing out more quickly than expected.

There are no official scheduled restart dates for the plant, which is situated near the San Diego-Orange County line.

In announcing its planned staffing reduction, Edison noted that plant's troubles "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.

"Deliberate steps will be taken over the next year to ensure SONGS is prepared to operate safely and in alignment with SCE's future operating budgets," according to the company.

The company is expected to make decisions about the plant's organizational structure by late October.

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