Plan to close Diablo Canyon: PG&E announces phasing out nuclear power in California by 2025

Jun 21, 2016

Effective immediately, PG&E said Tuesday it will cease any efforts on its part to renew the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant operating licenses.

The move to phase out nuclear power production in California by 2025 is a joint proposal released by PG&E, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1245, Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment California and Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility.

PG&E was in the process of applying to renew licenses for its dual reactors which expire on November 2, 2024 (Unit 1) and August 26, 2025 (Unit 2). The company said Tuesday that it intends to operate Diablo Canyon until those Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) operating licenses are complete.

"This eight- to nine-year transition period will provide the time to begin the process to plan and replace Diablo Canyon’s energy with new [greenhouse gas]-free replacement resources," the company's statement said.

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant is a large economic force for San Luis Obispo County. PG&E said "the parties to the agreement are jointly committed to supporting a successful transition" for the plant employees and the community.

This effort includes payments to the County totaling nearly $50 million, designed to offset declining property taxes through 2025. In addition, PG&E said it will provide incentives to retain employees during the plant's remaining operating years.

The proposal is not a done deal, according to PG&E. It's still necessary for it to pass a number of regulatory actions, including the approval of a lease extension from the State Lands Commission. It currently expires in 2018.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) also needs to approve PG&E's proposal to replace Diablo Canyon with greenhouse gas-free resources, among other aspects of the conversion.

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant's Unit 1 began commercial operation in 1985, followed by Unit 2 in 1987.

The plant employs nearly 1500 people at the facility, according to a report released in 2013 by PG&E. In 2011 it provided 9.3 percent of the state's electricity generation, an estimated 18,566 megawatt hours.