Nuclear on the ropes as media reacts to SONGS closure

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station SONGS California shut down media roundup Kewaunee Crystal River Southern California Edison

The closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant has reverberated through the industry like a shockwave heralding potentially bigger tumult to come. Mainstream news outlets have responded to the news with soul-searching articles wondering aloud about whether nuclear power has a much of a future in America.

Pointing to the closure of Kewaunee, Crystal River and now San Onofre, as well as low natural gas prices and a struggling economy, the Associated Press lays out the factors that have led to the sudden about-face nuclear power has experienced in recent years.

“The industry called it a 'nuclear renaissance.' It was short-lived,” said the AP.

Bloomberg called the closure of San Onofre the “latest blow for an industry already facing questions about its long-term survival.” Quoting an energy analyst, Bloomberg writes, “To replace the generation lost by San Onofre, California will need to build natural gas-fueled plants, which produce more pollution than nuclear power…the shutdown also will hasten the region’s shift to wind and solar alternatives as California moves towards its goal of getting one-third of its electricity from renewables by the end of the decade.”

Writing for the LA Times, Michael Hiltzik looks to the future with questions about who—Southern California Edison shareholders or the power customers of southern California—will cover the substantial bill the San Onofre closure leaves in its wake.

“What does that mean for Edison, which has essentially no competition as an electric power provider in its California market?” he writes. “As a monopoly, nothing could stop it from charging power customers anything it wished; nothing could stop it from spending imprudently or incompetently, and passing the consequences on to consumers with abandon.”

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