If there's anything sad about the fact that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) will never reopen–other than the prospect of those giant concrete boobies someday being dismantled–it's the 600 pink slips that went out Monday to employees at the aging nuclear power plant, and the fact that more layoffs are sure to follow.
The workers who found out Monday that they'll be laid off in two-months time are all non-union employees of the nuke plant. But Southern California Edison (SCE), which is the majority owners of SONGS, also plans to fire hundreds of union workers who represent the majority of the plant's current 1500-person workforce.
According to the City News Service, at least 1100 employees will be laid off next year as SCE prepares to decommission SONGS, a process that is expected to take years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. So company officials will be meeting soon with representatives of both the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Utility Workers Union of America to discuss those pink slips.
Pete Dietrich, SCE's senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, expressed regret for the company's decision to shut down SONGS, a decision that came earlier this month following more than a year without being on-line after replacement steam generators aimed at prolonging the life of the power plant failed to perform as expected. (The decision also came days after the Weekly predicted SONGS would never re-open). “The premature shutdown of San Onofre is very unfortunate,'' he said. “We have an extraordinary team of men and women. We appreciate their years of dedicated service and will continue to extend to them the utmost respect and consideration.''