What are Nuclear Electric Costs?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has jurisdiction over the licensing, safety, and operational aspects of all nuclear power plants in the United States as well as the radiological and technical aspects of decommissioning. However, the CPUC has jurisdiction related to electric cost issues, and ratepayer funding of and disbursement from the decommissioning trust funds.

Of the four power plants listed below that CPUC jurisdictional IOUs have ownership interests in, only Diablo Canyon and Palo Verde are presently operational and providing power to customers. On Jan. 11, 2018, the CPUC approved the retirement of Diablo Canyon. In 2014, nuclear power plants provided 8.5% of California’s total power.

  • Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) near San Luis Obispo is owned by PG&E and generates approximately 2200 MW.
  • San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) near San Clemente is owned by two utilities – SCE (75.7%) and SDG&E (20.0%) – and the City of Riverside (1.8%). It had three units: SONGS 1, 2, and 3.
    • The City of Anaheim is a former owner of SONGS, but still has liability for 2.5% of decommissioning expenses.
    • SONGS Unit 1 was shut down in 1999 and is being decommissioned.
    • SONGS Units 2 and 3 generated approximately 1120 MW each while operational. They became non-operational in January 2012 and were shut down permanently in June 2013. 
  • Humboldt Bay Power Plant (HBPP) in Eureka is owned by PG&E and generated 63 MW while operational. It was shut down in 1976 and is being decommissioned.
  • Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station near Phoenix, Arizona has a 16.5% share owned by SCE and generates approximately 3900 MW.

Each of these power plants is involved in proceedings before the CPUC. Click on the links below for descriptions of those proceedings:

SB 968: Diablo Canyon Economic Impact Assessment - June 28, 2019

Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee

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