June 20 2013
photo by Nuclear Regulatory Commission/NRC.gov
This commentary appeared in The Orange County Register on June 19, 2013.
The decision to permanently close the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on the Southern California coast brings to an end an extended and contentious debate about how to proceed after the station was taken off-line in January 2012 following the discovery of premature, excessive wear on metal tubes in the plant's new steam generators.
However, shutting down a reactor is a long way from the finish line in terms of getting rid of a nuclear power plant. In fact, we don't even know where the finish line is because no plant has ever reached it.