AECOM, EnergySolutions win bid to decommission San Onofre nuclear plant

Los Angeles engineering and construction firm AECOM announced Tuesday that it will serve as general contractor with a Utah firm in the decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear plant, a project estimated at $4.4 billion.

AECOM is partnering with Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions, which specializes in nuclear waste management, to decontaminate and dismantle the nuclear facility, which permanently closed in June 2013 after faulty replacement steam generators were installed at the plant.

The project is expected to create about 600 jobs over 10 years. Southern California Edison, which owns the majority stake in the plant that sits on an 84-acre site between San Diego and Orange County, awarded the contract.

AECOM is one of the L.A. area’s major contracting firms with operations in more than 150 countries. The company has provided decontamination and decommissioning services around the world, including work at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge site in eastern Tennessee.

EnergySolutions already has gained experience in decommissioning nuclear plants on projects that include the demolition phase of decommissioning the Zion Nuclear Power Station in Zion, Ill., and the La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor in La Crosse, Wis.

“We are proud to be selected for one of the largest and most technically complex projects in the country, leveraging capabilities across all of our segments to ensure the safe decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear plant,” Michael S. Burke, AECOM’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Ron Nichols, Edison’s president, said major dismantling of the plant will not begin before 2018, when state regulators are expected to complete an environmental review as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

“SCE will maintain strict oversight of the contractor and will continue to engage with the community and all stakeholders during decommissioning,” Nichols said.

Edison shares responsibility for decommissioning with San Onofre co-owners San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside, and former co-owner the city of Anaheim.

The San Onofre plant was one of the state’s last two operating nuclear facilities. The other plant, Diablo Canyon, operated by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., is expected to close after the licenses expire on its two reactors in 2024 and 2025.

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