SCE: $140M spent on investigating failed San Onofre plant - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

SCE: $140M spent on investigating failed San Onofre plant

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Southern California Edison spent $140 million in investigative and other costs stemming from a leak in a relatively new steam generator that forced the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, according to a letter released day by the utility.

Edison, the operator and majority owner of the shuttered plant along the northern San Diego County coastline, said the money was spent on investigating the cause of the January 2012 leak, plugging damaged steam pressure tubes and taking steps to restart another reactor.

The utility ultimately decided in June to retire both units at San Onofre.

SCE contends the Japanese manufacturer of the steam generators has so far taken responsibility only for a fraction of the expense, even though the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency blamed the leak on faulty computer modeling that caused vibrations in the steam generators, leading to excessive wear in the pressure tubes.

A message left with a spokesman for Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems Inc., which is part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was not immediately returned.

Paul Coughlin, a senior purchasing manager for Edison, wrote the letter dated last Friday to Itaru Kikuoka, an Arlington, Va.-based employee of Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems, part of the Japanese corporation.

"It is simply incredible for Mitsubishi to assert that only $7.6 million of those expenses are Mitsubishi's responsibility," Coughlin wrote.

According to SCE, Mitsubishi claims it has not received proper documentation to account for $55 million in reimbursements. The utility's letter says Mitsubishi employees were at San Onofre when much of the expenses were incurred, and that Edison has sent thousands of pages of documents to support its demands.

Coughlin accused Mitsubishi of "stonewalling" via "ongoing demands for more information" said the utility would seek "any and all remedies."

The letter and other documents associated with the nuclear plant -- which is 20 percent owned by San Diego Gas & Electric -- are online at SONGScommunity.com/library.

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