The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

San Onofre nuclear plant closure will mean hundreds of layoffs

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Southern California Edison says its closure of the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will force the company to lay off 900 workers in the next few months.

Many San Onofre workers live in Orange and San Diego counties. UC Irvine economics professor Jan Brueckner says those who lose their jobs will cut back on spending.

“Anything a worker patronizes—a restaurant, Wal-Mart, or grocery stores. All retail establishments would be impacted," Brueckner said.

Edison plans to store the spent nuclear fuel at San Onofre, and says it could take decades to decommission the plant. 

If the plant completely shuts down, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union—which represents some of the plant's workers—said the job losses could impact 5,500 workers. That number includes roughly 3,000 contract workers, as well as 2,500 union and non-union Edison employees, said Patrick Lavin, business manage/r and financial secretary with IBEW local 47 

As those workers become unemployed, it will have a negative impact on the economy. But Daren Blomquist, vice president of Irvine-based real estate data firm RealtyTrac, said the plant's closure could boost home prices.

“It will open up the pool of buyers to people who may have been skeptical about living close to a nuclear plant and now they won’t be," Blomquist said.

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