SCE gets $400 million settlement tied to closed San Onofre nuclear plant

San Onofre nuclear plant ELP

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The operator of the defunct San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California announced Thursday that it reached a $400 million insurance settlement covering power outages caused by failed equipment, most of which will go to customers.

The deal between Southern California Edison and Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited comes more than two years after the plant between San Diego and Los Angeles was closed for good.

Under the settlement, majority owner SCE will receive $313 million. Minority owners would get smaller slices: San Diego Gas & Electric gets $80 million and the city of Riverside, $7 million.

For typical SCE residential customers, it was expected to result in about a 2 percent to 2.5 percent cut in monthly bills beginning next year.

San Onofre was shut down in January 2012 after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of extensive damage to tubing inside virtually new steam generators.

The plant never produced electricity again. SCE closed San Onofre permanently in June 2013 amid a fight with environmentalists over whether the nuclear plant could be restarted safely.

Meanwhile, consumer advocates have called on state regulators to reopen a nearly $5 billion settlement that divided costs tied to the shuttered plant, under which the owners would pay $1.4 billion and consumers would pay $3.3 billion. SCE opposes reopening that agreement.

SCE is also locked in a long-running dispute over possible damages with the company that manufactured the flawed generators, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Earlier this year Mitsubishi disclosed that SCE had nearly doubled its damage claim to $7.57 billion in a proceeding before the International Chamber of Commerce. Mitsubishi says its liability is limited to $137 million by contract.

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