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California regulators approve retirement of 2.2GW Diablo Canyon nuclear plant

EBR Staff Writer Published 15 January 2018

The California regulators have approved Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) request to decommission the 2,256MW Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant by 2025.

With the approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E will retire the power plant, which features two nuclear reactors, upon completion of its operating licenses.

The operating license of the power plant’s 1138MWe Unit 1 is scheduled to expire in 2024 and 1118MWe Unit 2 in 2025.

CPUC president Michael Picker said: “Diablo Canyon has been a source of reliable and clean electricity – and employment – in San Luis Obispo for many years now. But the plant is no longer economic, and the owner, PG&E, has asked to close it down.

“We looked hard at all the arguments, and the Commission agrees that the time has come. We have laid out a fair and reasonable pathway to clean power replacement, as well as a program for retaining skilled workers over the course of the next seven years.”

The regulator has also authorized the firm to recover $241.2m in costs associated with retiring the plant; $211.3m to retain PG&E employees until the facility is retired; $11.3m for retraining of workers; and $18.6m for Diablo Canyon license renewal expenses incurred by PG&E.

However, the regulator has rejected PG&E’s request for $85m for a Community Impact Mitigation Program (CIMP) in the absence of express legislative authorization.

In 2016, PG&E has partnered with labor and environmental organizations on a joint proposal to increase investment in energy efficiency and renewables while retiring DCPP.

In addition to PG&E, the joint proposal partners include International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment California, California Energy Efficiency Industry Council and Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility.

PG&E said: “Since the full proposal was not approved, in line with our agreement, PG&E will be meeting to confer with our labor, community and environmental group partners in the days ahead about the decision, our next steps and the path forward."


Image: The Diablo Canyon Power Plant, on the coast of California, US. Photo: courtesy of Doc Searls from Santa Barbara, USA