Safely Dismantling SONGS
Building SONGS was a major undertaking. Dismantling the above-grade structures on its 85-acres will equally involve a tremendous amount of activity. As one of the contractors said, “Before you can tear things down, you have to bring them back to life.” Plant lighting, cranes and ventilation units are being tested and re-energized in preparation for the dismantlement work to come.
How will dismantlement look? SONGS Decommissioning Solutions produced this video animation to provide a sense of how the plant's major structures will be removed over the next decade.
When Will Dismantlement Begin?
SCE issued its Notice of Deconstruction in January 2020, notifying the public that the dismantlement work will begin in the first quarter of 2020. Immediate work will take place within the boundaries of SONGS and should not have any impact on the surrounding recreational areas. Near-term activities include improving site access roads and entrances, installing temporary personnel trailers, upgrading the rail infrastructure, removing asbestos, and establishing staging areas for industrial equipment.
We understand that construction can be potentially disruptive to daily activities and will do our best to minimize inconveniences all the while maintaining a strong focus on public safety. As work gets underway, we will be providing videos, photos and informational updates here, as well as quarterly reports.
Reducing Traffic Impacts
Most of the material shipments leaving the site will travel by rail. Any impacts to traffic and/or public access to beach and recreational resources resulting from decommissioning activities are expected to be short-term and limited. We’re taking steps, including those listed below, to ensure inconveniences are limited:
- Haul truck trips will be scheduled to avoid peak hours, weekends and holidays to the extent practicable so as to minimize interference with the public’s use of the surrounding areas and roads.
- Some lane closures may be necessary on local roadways on occasion, but there will not be any full closures on roads used to access San Onofre State Beach.
- We will notify the public through posted signs and this website in advance of any partial lane closures or activities that might temporarily impact recreational facilities.
- On the few occasions where detours may be necessary, we will provide signs and notices that identify temporary detour routes for traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists.
- We also will coordinate with the State Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure that trucks carrying equipment and materials do not exceed safe operating conditions on the roads approaching the site.
Keeping it Safe
The hazards at the site during decommissioning are the same types hazards present at any construction site, namely working at heights, moving objects, noise, airborne dust, and electricity. To mitigate the hazards, there will be strict compliance with rigorous safety protocols. The decommissioning process will be carried out in accordance with Federal and State safety regulations, including but not limited to NRC, OSHA, Cal OSHA, and other construction standards and regulations.
Prior to disturbing the ground for dismantlement, baseline testing for the Department of Toxic Substances Control will identify potential non-radiological hazards. This allows implementation of appropriate safety precautions including additional monitoring and personal protective equipment for our employees, if needed. The objective is to ensure that the site does not affect the environment above what is normally in the surrounding air, soil or groundwater. And the sampling we do in the future will always be compared against the baselines existing in the environment.
Radiological safety will be a central focus throughout the careful dismantlement process. Radiological health specialists will help ensure the radiological material stays precisely where it is supposed to be until it is packaged and removed from the site.
A key aspect of safely decommissioning San Onofre is ensuring our environmental impact is as low as possible.
- We are committed to leaving the community better off as a result of having been home to San Onofre for 50 years. We also are committed to working with federal and state agencies, including the State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission, to ensure that impacts to the environment and surrounding areas are addressed throughout the decommissioning process.