AP NEWS

PG&E to Close Diablo Canyon Nuke Plant in 10 Years

June 21, 2016 GMT

PG&E on Tuesday announced plans to shut down the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power plant in San Luis Obispo County by 2025, a proposal, that, if approved, would mark the end of nuclear power generation in California.

“This would be the last nuclear power plant in California,” said Pat Remick, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “There would be no more nuclear power generating plants in California after 2025 if this proposal is approved by regulators.”

The two 1,100 megawatt-hour reactors at Diablo Canyon produce about 8.6 percent of the electricity in California and provide enough power for 3 million people a year.

“This is a rare moment,” said Ralph Cavanagh, energy program co-director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The replacements of the energy are more important than the retirement of the nuclear plant.”

To replace the lost electricity generation, PG&E said it would undertake an array of programs to increase investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy storage that would exceed current state mandates.

PG&E struck a deal with Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment California, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, the Coalition of California Utility Employees and Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility to undertake the phaseout of nuclear power generation by the utility.

“Underpinning the agreement is the recognition that California’s new energy policies will significantly reduce the need for Diablo Canyon’s electricity output,” PG&E said Tuesday.

San Francisco-based PG&E intends to phase out the Diablo Canyon reactors upon the expiration of the licenses for the two facilities. The license for Unit 1 of the reactor will expire in November 2024 and the license for Unit 2 will expire in August 2025, PG&E stated in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“California’s energy landscape is changing dramatically with energy efficiency, renewables and storage being central to the state’s energy policy,” said Anthony Earley, PG&E chief executive officer. “As we make this transition, Diablo Canyon’s full output will no longer be required.”

PG&E is taking a forward looking approach with its proposal to retire the plant, as well as scout for ways to replace the lost electricity production, environmental activists said.

“The plant will be replaced with a host of zero carbon alternatives that are less costly and more reliable,” Cavanagh said.

What’s more, PG&E’s decision to cease production at Diablo Canyon could become a model for other such facilities in the United States.

“There are literally dozens of aging nuclear power plants around the country, and for the owners of these plants, PG&E has set a shining example,” Cavanagh said. Contact George Avalos at 408-859-5167. Follow him at Twitter.com/georgeavalos .