Energy & Environment

California approves closure of last nuclear power plant

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California officials voted Thursday to approve the closing of the state’s last nuclear power plant.

All five members of the California Public Utilities Commission voted to approve Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s request to close the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County by 2025, The (San Luis Obispo) Tribune reported.

“With this timing in mind, and this decision today, we chart a new energy future,” Commissioner Michael Picker said at the meeting, according to the Tribune. “We agree the time has come.”


“It moves California away from the era of nuclear power and toward the era of zero-carbon renewable energy,” said Commissioner Liane M. Randolph. “I will be voting in favor.”

The decision closes nuclear power’s long history in California.

Utilities had at one point planned to develop numerous power plants in the state but only built a small handful. The anti-nuclear movement also gained notoriety in California in the 1960s and 1970s, as a pushback against the growing industry there.

Pacific Gas & Electric asked in 2016 to close Diablo Canyon, arguing it would not be economical to run it past 2025 when the federal license for the second of its two reactors expires and would require a renewal process.

Nuclear plants across the country have had trouble in recent years competing against cheap natural gas and renewables. Numerous plants have closed lately, including the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in southern California, which was the state’s only other nuclear plant.

California regulators did not approve an $85 million settlement San Luis Obispo County had negotiated to help transition the community into life without the plant, including the tax base loss.

“The county and its residents deserve to be compensated for the impacts they will incur when the plant shuts down,” state Sen. Bill Monning (D) told the Tribune.

Tags California Energy Nuclear power zero carbon
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