Thursday, January 11, 2018

USA, California: Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant to Begin Shutting Down in Six Years

Nuclear power receives its death sentence in California: Regulators vote to shut down Diablo Canyon (San Diego Union Tribune)

The last remaining nuclear power plant in California will begin shutting down operations in six years, after state regulators Thursday unanimously approved a plan outlining details of the closure.

“We chart a a new energy future by phasing out nuclear power here in California,” Michael Picker, the president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) said prior to the 5-0 vote. “We agree the time has come.”

The decision comes after the nuclear plant’s operator, Pacific Gas & Electric, in 2016 announced an agreement with a collection of environmental and labor groups to shutter the plant that has delivered electricity since 1985.

The utility said Diablo Canyon would be uneconomical to run in the near future because of changes in California’s power grid — specifically, the growth of renewable energy sources, increased energy efficiency measures and the migration of more customers from traditional utilities to community choice aggregation (CCA) for their local electricity needs.

Supporters of nuclear energy said closing Diablo Canyon will cause the state to use more natural gas — a fossil-fuel — in order to replace the electricity generated by the plant.

“I’m sorely disappointed the CPUC has neglected the ratepayers and the environment,” said Gene Nelson, government liaison with Californians for Green Nuclear Power. “Solar and wind cannot be counted on…They’re subject to random interruptions.

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