The Future of Diablo Canyon

September 2, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The reports of the death of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant may be greatly exaggerated. While Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) announced as early as 2016 that it would be closing California’s last operating nuclear power plant at the end of its current operating license, there has been growing political pressure to keep the plant, and its 2,200 MWe of carbon-free energy, running.

California lawmakers see the light, vote to extend Diablo Canyon operation

September 1, 2022, 12:16PMNuclear News
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

Bowing at last to the unflagging efforts of nuclear advocates over the past few years—as well as to more recent pressure from a former nuclear opponent, Gov. Gavin Newsom—the California legislature late last night approved S.B. 846, a measure that provides the option of extending operations at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for five years beyond its scheduled 2025 closure date.

Pacific Gas and Electric, Diablo Canyon’s owner and operator, had agreed in June 2016 to an early shuttering of the facility, following discussions with organized labor and environmental organizations. PG&E’s application to close the plant was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in January 2018.

The bill passed easily through both legislative chambers: 67–3 in the General Assembly and 31–1 in the Senate.

California lawmakers to vote on Diablo Canyon life extension

August 29, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
California's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

A bill to extend operations at California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant beyond 2025 debuted last evening in the California legislature. Lawmakers have until Wednesday—the end of the current legislative session—to vote on the measure.

Coauthored by State Sen. Bill Dodd (D., Napa) and Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R., San Luis Obispo), Senate Bill 846 includes a $1.4 billion forgivable loan to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the plant’s owner and operator, matching the amount in the August 12 proposal from Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Instead of Newsom’s proposed option for a 10-year life extension for the facility, however, SB 846 would keep the plant running for an additional five years only.

Newsom proposes $1.4 billion loan to keep Diablo Canyon running

August 17, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

There is still a chance for California’s last remaining nuclear power plant to stay open.

Last Friday, more than 50 nuclear advocates testified in support of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant at a California Energy Commission workshop. Many spoke of the need for California to shore up its electricity grid in the face of coming heat waves and power outages. Others emphasized that closing the plant, which generates 2.2 GW of electricity and currently provides 8.6 percent of the state’s total supply and about 15 percent of its low-carbon electricity, would be devastating to California’s emission-reduction goals.

DOE revises nuclear credit program guidance, extends application deadline

July 1, 2022, 12:09PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy yesterday announced that it has amended its Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program guidance for the currently open award cycle and extended the deadline for credit applications from July 5 to September 6. The DOE was instructed to establish the $6 billion program by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Biden last November.

California climate goals easier to reach with Diablo Canyon, says study

June 14, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

Extending the operational life of California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant beyond 2025—its scheduled year of retirement—would help the state meet its climate goals more quickly, more reliably, and more cheaply than allowing the facility to close, a new study has found.

According to Retaining Diablo Canyon: Economic, Carbon, and Reliability Implications, keeping the plant on line could not only substantially reduce California’s emissions, natural gas use, and electric power costs, but also help avoid blackouts.

Four “clues” that Diablo Canyon will be replaced by Wyoming coal

April 8, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. (Photo: Doc Searls)

Officials in California are planning to replace the electricity produced by the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, scheduled to shut down in 2025, “mostly with Wyoming coal-fired generation.” That claim is made in a post on the Capitol Weekly website written by Gene Nelson, a cofounder of Californians for Green Nuclear Power (CGNP). Nelson writes that although state officials are trying to hide this plan from the public, CGNP uncovered it by detecting four obscure clues in California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) filings.

News report on past Diablo Canyon shutdown prompts clarification by nuclear advocates

April 4, 2022, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, located near Avila Beach, Calif.

A recent article on a radio station website about an auxiliary feedwater (AFW) pump problem at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant led to information exchanges between a reporter, the American Nuclear Society, and nuclear advocates. The incident also involved a tweet by a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

SLO county board supports life extension for Diablo Canyon

February 17, 2022, 12:04PMNuclear News
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors earlier this week endorsed extending the life of Diablo Canyon—California’s last operating nuclear power facility—which owner and operator Pacific Gas and Electric Company has scheduled for permanent closure in 2025. The two-unit, 2,289-MWe plant is located in San Luis Obispo County, near Avila Beach.

The American Nuclear Society supports keeping Diablo Canyon open

November 24, 2021, 11:08AMPress Releases
A whale swims off the coast by Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. (Image: PG&E)

The American Nuclear Society supports the continued operation of California's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The premature shutdown of Diablo Canyon units 1 and 2, slated respectively in November 2024 and August 2025, will inflict grave harm to California's economy and environment.

California Republicans debut bill to save Diablo Canyon

July 15, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News


Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) introduced legislation last week that would keep California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in operation beyond its expected 2025 closure date. Dubbed the Clean Energy Production Act (H.R. 4394), the bill was introduced July 9 and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Cosponsoring the measure is the remainder of the Golden State’s GOP contingent to the House: Reps. Ken Calvert, Mike Garcia, Darrell Issa, Young Kim, Doug LaMalfa, Kevin McCarthy, Tom McClintock, Jay Obernolte, Michelle Steel, and David G. Valadao.

American Nuclear Society files FERC comments on Diablo Canyon’s early closure

November 16, 2020, 10:20AMPress Releases

La Grange Park, IL – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) has submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in favor of reconsidering the shortsighted decision to shutter prematurely California’s largest clean energy resource, Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

ANS filed the comments on Nov. 12 in favor of an Oct. 26 complaint by Californians for Green Nuclear Power against the regulatory approvals of the 2016 decision by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to permanently shutter Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 in November 2024 and August 2025, respectively. The complaint (Docket No. EL21-13-000) asked FERC to investigate whether the decision shuttering Diablo Canyon violates grid reliability standards. ANS agrees with the complaint that FERC ought to consider fully the negative consequences and reliability risks posed by a premature retirement of Diablo Canyon.

ANS backs effort to save Diablo Canyon

November 16, 2020, 9:33AMNuclear News

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Photo: PG&E

The American Nuclear Society has submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in support of a complaint recently filed by a nuclear advocacy group regarding the 2016 decision to prematurely retire the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.

The letter was signed by ANS Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy and President Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar.

Complaint filed with FERC to save Diablo Canyon from early closure

November 2, 2020, 3:01PMNuclear News

A nuclear advocacy group is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to review the approval by California regulators of the decision by Pacific Gas and Electric in 2016 to prematurely retire its Diablo Canyon plant—the Golden State’s only remaining operating nuclear power facility—in 2025.

On October 26, the nonprofit organization Californians for Green Nuclear Power Inc. (CGNP) filed a 32-page complaint with FERC in the matter, listing as respondents the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), California Independent System Operator (CAISO), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California State Water Resources Control Board (CSWRCB), and California State Lands Commission (CSLC).