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Lou Bosch
Lou Bosch, plant manager of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, is retiring after working more than 30 years at the plant. Courtesy photo
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San Onofre plant manager Lou Bosch to retire

REGION — After working 35 years at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Lou Bosch is retiring next month after spending the last six years as plant manager.

Overall, Bosch has worked in the nuclear industry for 42 years. His career began in 1978 as a U.S. Navy reactor operator on board the U.S.S. Hammerhead, a fast-attack nuclear submarine. After serving six years in the Navy, Bosch left to work at Three Mile Island, a nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. Two years later, he visited Southern California for the first time and decided to apply at San Onofre, where he was eventually hired as an instrument technician.

Through the years he finished his engineering degree and became an engineer, engineering manager and gained his Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) certification. He attended a few more years of school and eventually became the plant’s shop manager, putting him in charge of both Units 2 and 3 when they were “basically powering up all of Southern California.”

When Bosch was first hired, all three of the plant’s units were still in operation. Unit 1 was retired in 1992, and Units 2 and 3 were retired in 2012. After ship manager, Bosch went into quality assurance management at the plant before finally becoming plant manager six years ago.

“As plant manager, you’ve got to really know every piece of the plant,” Bosch said.

Bosch became plant manager after the decommissioning process was announced. He said it was sad to see the plant “prematurely” enter the decommissioning process, but he was determined to see the plant set the industry gold standard on how to properly go through decommissioning. Bosch believes San Onofre was one of the better performing plants in the country throughout its lifetime.

“Throughout my career, I have always been impressed by each and every nuclear professional who performs their job each day safely, thoroughly and compliantly,” he said. “These nuclear professionals help generate 20% of the nation’s electricity, and they do it safely and carbon-free.”

According to Bosch, the nuclear industry is one of the safest in the country but many people don’t understand and fear it.

“I think that as far as nuclear goes, most people really just want to make sure that we’re safe,” Bosch said. “I can tell you that we are doing it extremely safe.”

One thing the industry could improve, he noted, is how they educate people about the industry.

San Onofre has incorporated its own source of community education of the plant’s decommissioning process through the Community Engagement Panel, which holds public meetings about four times a year. Members of the panel include regional educators, elected officials, environmentalists and labor representatives.

Bosch officially retires on Jan. 4. He plans to stick around the place he has called home for the last several decades with his wife, children and grandchildren. Bosch, whose wife is French Canadian, also plans to become fluent in French during retirement.

Additionally, Bosch wants to provide consulting services to help nuclear professionals and plants entering the decommissioning process.

“This has been a great run and I have never been prouder to be part of this great fraternity of nuclear professionals,” Bosch said. “It’s now time for me to enter the next chapter of my life with wonderful memories of the people I’ve come to know and the places I’ve worked.”

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