Reactor Decommissioning History
San Onofre Unit 2 and 3 (SONGS-2 & 3)
revised 3 February 2016


SONGS-2 and 3 are commercial Combustion Engineering (CE or C-E) PWR power reactors. Each reactor had 2 steam generators, and considered 2-loop reactors. However, because each SG has 2 cold legs, they can sometimes be referred to as 4-loop. Both had a generating capacity of around 1100 MWe each and are both owned by SCE (Southern California Edison) and three other partners. Along with Waterford 3, SONGS 2 and 3 are referred to as "Group 5" CE Plants. Both SONGS 2 & 3 reactors operated from 1983/1984 to 2012 after problems with recently installed Steam Generators.

On June 12, 2013 SCE formally notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it had permanently ceased operation of both units on June 7, 2013. Both units recently had new Steam Generators and new RV Closure Heads installed, but S/G tube sheet issues triggered evaluating the economics of keeping both units producing power. Currently SCE is planning to remove both reactors over the next few years with intent to complete segmentation of both reactors in 2019.

The RFP that includes reactor work is due the first week of January, 2016 (was October 2015). Award expected middle 2016. The teams and major groups bidding this work are:

  • Westinghouse / Bechtel
  • EnergySolutions / AECOM
  • Holtec / SNC-Lavalin

Click here for the San Onofre Unit-1 SONGS-1 page.

Reactor Decommissioning Specifics

Internals Removal
Nothing has been announced but expected to be segmented. No cutting process mentioned, but mechanical segmentation appears to be the industry favorite at this time.

Reactor Vessel Removal
Around 2013 an intact shipment of all three RV's (Unit-1 is stored outside) was rumored to be the favored approach. On September 23, 2014 a SCE letter to the NRC in the section referring to the reactor vessels stated: "It is likely that the components will be removed by sectioning or segmenting performed remotely".

Both units have replacement RV Closure Heads. The old 77-ton Unit-2 RVH left site 16 December 2013 for disposal at the EnergySolutions Clive facility.

Segmentation and Packaging Plan (S&P Plan)
Nothing has been announced. Expect RFP to be sent out in July 2015.

Key People (reactor related)
None at this time.

None regarding the reactors at this time.

Songs 2 and 3 were part of the 2013 Nuclear De-Renaissance along with USA plants Crystal River, Vermont Yankee, and Kewaunee. This is only the second CE (Combustion Engineering) designed PWR be decommissioned. Maine Yankee was smaller and done previously. Humboldt Bay reactor was manufactured by CE, but for GE (very different since it was a small and unique design BWR).

Related Publications and Documents
No published technical papers at this time relating to the decommissioning of this reactor or segmentation of the reactor internals.

Conversations with SCE and industry people - ongoing.
IAEA PRIS - ongoing.
Web page: as of 3/10/2015.
SCE web page - ongoing.
NRC web page - ongoing.
September 23, 2014 SCE letter to the NRC
Others on file.

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