California's Last Nuclear Plant Makes Way for Zero-Carbon Options

California's Last Nuclear Plant Makes Way for Zero-Carbon Options

California's last operational nuclear power plant, the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, will close by 2025.

California’s last operational nuclear power plant will close by 2025, and Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill ensuring the lost energy is replaced by zero-carbon alternatives.

The first of two pressurized-water nuclear reactors began operation at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant on May 7, 1985. In 2016, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which operates the plant, announced they wouldn’t be renewing the operating licenses for Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 when they expire in 2024 and 2025.

Blame the fallout from Fukushima and general anti-nuclear sentiment.

Meanwhile, Governor Brown recently signed SB 1090, which will replace the electricity generated at Diablo with zero-carbon and renewable energy. And as Peter Miller from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) notes in a blog post, The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) must fully fund the worker retention and community transition provisions reached in negotiations between PG&E and NRDC, Friends of the Earth, labor groups, and others.

According to the NRDC, the worker retention payments and Community Impact Mitigation mandated in SB 1090 will cost up to $174 million, which is more than offset by the alleged $1 billion in savings from not having to refurbish the Diablo Plant.

“The package of policies included in SB 1090 offers a model for the phaseout of aging power plants with clean, increasingly less-expensive energy while providing a just transition for workers and communities affected by the shutdown,” says Miller.

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