PG&E’s Humboldt Bay Nuclear Plant

Background

In December 2012, PG&E filed its Triennial 2012 Application requesting approval of approximately $213 million for 2014 nuclear decommissioning costs for both its Humboldt Bay and Diablo Canyon nuclear power plants. The Humboldt Bay plant is now closed and in the process of decommissioning. Specifically, PG&E requested a total updated decommissioning cost of approximately $982.3 million for its Humboldt Bay Power Plant, a $483 million increase from its 2009 estimate. 

On June 17, 2013, the CPUC issued a Scoping Ruling requesting that testimony be filed by parties for the Humboldt Bay plant regarding the reasonableness of past and future decommissioning costs including: completed projects, decommissioning cost estimates going forward, and Operating & Maintenance costs for Safe Storage (the cost associated with safely maintaining the site or portions of the site according to PG&E’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission license before they begin actively decommissioning). 

Evidentiary hearings were held at the CPUC on August 7-9, 2013. 

On January 28, 2014, the CPUC issued its Proposed Decision on nuclear decommissioning costs for Humbold Bay Power Plant Unit 3, finding reasonable: 

  • Cost estimates of $679 million to complete decommissioning, including $400 million in additional costs
     
     
  • Safe Storage costs of $16.5 million 
      
  • Completed costs of $25 million 

 

ORA Position

ORA reviewed PG&E’s completed decommissioning projects and identified no issues. PG&E’s 2012 decommissioning cost increase of $483 million more than 2009 estimates is driven by several changes to the scope of work at Humboldt Bay Power Plant which include removal of the reactor caisson, changes to site remediation assumptions, increased time for which on-site spent nuclear fuel storage is necessary, and increased groundwater treatment costs. ORA has reviewed each of these four cost drivers and its analysis finds PG&E’s request for increased revenue requirement generally reasonable. However, ORA recommends that the site remediation standard used for Humboldt Bay be the Industrial Worker Standard and that the decommissioning cost estimate be reduced by $18 million accordingly.  

See ORA's September 13, 2013 Opening Brief. 

See ORA's September 27, 2013 Reply Brief. 

  

See ORA’s July 12, 2013 Testimony 

See full details of ORA's position on the Triennial Review of PG&E's nuclear power plants. 

 

Proceeding Status

See the Proceeding docket. 

This Triennial Nuclear Decommissioning proceeding was consolidated statewide across Edison’s and SDG&E’s Application for SONGS and Palo Verde and PG&E’s Application for Diablo Canyon and Humboldt Bay.