June 22, 2016 Read More →

In Closure of Diablo Canyon Power Plant, a Concession That the Future Is Not Nuclear

Ivan Penn and Samantha Masunaga for the Los Angeles Times:

One of California’s largest energy utilities took a bold step in the 21st century electricity revolution with an agreement to close its last operating nuclear plant and develop more solar, wind and other clean power technologies.

The decision announced Tuesday by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to close its beleaguered Diablo Canyon nuclear plant within the next decade runs counter to the nuclear industry’s arguments that curbing carbon emissions and combating climate change require use of nuclear power, which generates the most electricity without harmful emissions.

Instead, PG&E joined with longtime adversaries such as the Friends of the Earth environmental group to craft a deal that will bring the company closer to the mandate that 50% of California’s electricity generation come from renewable energy sources by 2030.

PG&E’s agreement will close the book on the state’s history as a nuclear pioneer, but adds to its clean energy reputation. California already leads the nation by far in use of solar energy generated by rooftop panels and by sprawling power arrays in the desert.

“California is already a leader in curtailing greenhouse gases,” said Peter Bradford, a former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “Now they’re saying they can go even further. That’s potentially a model for other situations.”

Under the proposal, the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County would be retired by PG&E after its current U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission operating licenses expire in November 2024 and August 2025.

The power produced by Diablo Canyon’s two nuclear reactors would be replaced with investment in a greenhouse-gas-free portfolio of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage, PG&E said.

Full Article: PG&E to close Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear power plant

 

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