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AECOM, EnergySolutions secure $4.4bn San Onofre nuclear plant decommissioning contract

EBR Staff Writer Published 22 December 2016

Southern California Edison (SCE) has awarded the decommissioning contract of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to a joint venture of AECOM and EnergySolutions for $4.4bn.

SONGS, located along the Pacific coast of California, in the San Diego County, is being touted to be one of the largest nuclear plant decommissioning projects in the commercial sector across the US.

The SONGS decommissioning project is likely to provide 600 job openings for workers from local companies and others throughout the 10-year dismantlement phase.

While AECOM is a global infrastructure firm, its joint venture partner EnergySolutions has expertise in decommissioning of nuclear plants and waste management.

AECOM chairman and CEO Michael S. Burke said: “We are proud to be selected for one of the largest and most technically complex projects in the country, leveraging capabilities across all of our segments to ensure the safe decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear plant.

“This win is a tremendous accomplishment for our joint venture team with EnergySolutions, and underscores our collective industry-leading expertise within a substantial global nuclear market.”

Along with the dismantlement work, the $4.4bn expenditure also covers on-site storage of the used nuclear fuel of SONGS, its radiological decommissioning and costs for the site restoration.

EnergySolutions disposal and nuclear decommissioning president Ken Robuck said: “We are currently decommissioning two nuclear power stations in Wisconsin and Illinois and are uniquely qualified for decommissioning projects with state-of-the-art facilities to process and dispose of waste that will be generated throughout the course of this project.”

Both Units 2 and 3 of San Onofre generated 2,200MW of electricity when operational.

In June 2013, SCE announced its decision to retire San Onofre Units 2 and 3, after which it commenced preparations to decommission the station.

Funds for the decommissioning of SONGS will be managed through SCE’s existing trust funds which also includes its project share as majority owner.

Apart from SCE, San Onofre co-owners San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside, and former co-owner, the city of Anaheim also hold the responsibility of the plant’s decommissioning.

Image: The San Onofre nuclear plant at dusk.  The plant is in the process of being decommissioned over the next 20 years. Photo: courtesy of Jean Anderson and Edison International.