San Onofre auction: Want to own a part of a nuclear power plant? Here's your chance

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Ever wanted to buy part of a nuclear power plant? This week is your chance, as Southern California Edison holds an auction to sell off parts of the San Onofre nuclear plant, which it announced last year would close for good.

There won't be any radioactive components on the auction block, but you can bid on turbine plant cooling water heat exchangers or computer numerical control machine shops, which use programmable automation to carry out machining operations.

There will also be new parts, heavy metal and sheet metal fabrication equipment up for bid.

But a word of warning: If you want to bid on equipment, bring money. According to the auctioneers, all onsite bidders must put down a $500 cash deposit, and online bidders must wire $1,000, among other conditions.

RELATED: California regulators approve plan to replace power lost from San Onofre nuclear plant

"The sale of such equipment is a standard practice for decommissioning industrial sites such as San Onofre," said Doug Bauder, SCE vice president of Operational Services, in a statement. "It's an efficient way for SCE to reduce inventory and redirect valuable equipment to companies that need it."

SCE isn't saying how much it hopes to earn from the auction. The utility has estimated it will have to spend $3 billion to decommission the plant.

Simi Valley-based MRI Auctions, which specializes in industrial machinery, is facilitating the auction, which is being held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the plant near San Clemente. There will also be a live webcast.

“This webcast auction event represents a tremendous buying opportunity to purchase beautifully maintained machinery, equipment, brand new turbine heat exchangers, storage containers, tools and related items," said Roy Gamityan, President of MRI Auctions, in a statement.

MRI will host a preview on Monday and Tuesday to give bidders a chance to inspect items.

Panel to hold first meeting on decommissioning Tuesday

Meanwhile, the first meeting of the Community Engagement Panel, which SCE and San Onofre's other owners formed to give the public a chance to weigh-in on the decommissioning process, will take place Tuesday. 

The meeting will include an overview of plans to dismantle the plant in 15 to 20 years. There will also be time for public comment.

The meeting takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the San Clemente Community Center, 100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente.

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