Like many Americans, Peter Dietrich took a pay cut last year after his employer encountered some financial setbacks. In fact, they shuttered the facility he oversaw in January 2012.
Dietrich, chief nuclear officer for Southern California Edison (SCE) since 2010, oversees the beleaguered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station where his compensation last year was $1.9 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents reviewed by the Associated Press. He received a 6% increase in base pay, to $461,000, but lost $350,000 in other compensation.
Dietrich has not been as idle as his plant. He is also a senior vice president at SCE, which is co-owner of San Onofre with San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside. His compensation pales beside the $470 million cost generated by San Onofre last year, and any controversy over it will probably be dwarfed by the battle between ratepayers, taxpayers and utility shareholders to see who picks up the tab.
Two reactors at San Onofre have been closed since a leak of radioactive steam was discovered. Subsequent testing found hundreds of eroded steam tubes, damaged by vibration. Edison says it has made progress in fixing the problems and wants to crank up the plant at 70% power to see if anything shakes loose. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the request.