San Onofre’s nuclear power plant will be cutting 730 employees from its workforce effective in October, a Southern California Energy announcement read.
Met with uncertainty over its future as an energy supplier and high operational costs, the troubled company announced the major downsizing in staff Monday.
In January, the Unit 3 reactor was shut down as a precaution after a tube leak. Unit 2 was taken offline earlier that month. Neither units have been operational since.
“The reality is that the Unit 3 reactor will not be operating for some time,” SCE, which manages the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, stated Monday.
Federal regulators probed the plant to determine what happened to Unit 3 and how it could have been prevented. While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission commended the staff for their handling of the leak, they expressed concern over the design flaw that caused it.
Meanwhile, environmental activists have come out strongly against the plant and the risks involved in operating the reactors. Citizens Oversight and Friends of the Earth urged regulators to permanently decommission the plant over safety and environmental concerns.
Southern California Edison also pointed to the high costs of running the plant as a reason for downsizing. Compared to similar plants, the staffing and costs are much higher. The company will also reduce costs by “improving plant processes while fully maintaining all safety commitments,” they state.
Over the next two months, Southern California Edison will examine their employee workloads to determine who will be let go. Then, the company will develop a new organizational structure.