Is Gavin Newsom trying to close Diablo Canyon?

January 4, 2016

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power PlantCalifornia’s second-in-command and a leading candidate in the 2018 governor’s race, Gavin Newsom, is predicting Diablo Canyon power plant will close by the time its current licenses expire in 2024 and 2025. Newsom is also using his position as chair of state commission to subject the nuclear plant to environmental review that PG&E officials did not expect to occur. [SF Chronicle]

PG&E leases states tidelands in order to operate the plant’s cooling system, which sucks in water from the ocean and then returns it. The tidelands leases expire in 2018 and 2019, and PG&E is currently requesting the State Lands Commission approve extensions of the leases.

Newsom, who is the chairman of the State Lands Commission, is calling for there to be a full environmental review before the the commission decides on the lease extensions. The commission may vote in February on whether a new tidelands lease requires an environmental impact report (EIR).

Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom

If the commission does require an EIR, the process could take more than a year and it may reignite debate over the safety of the power plant.

“I don’t think that PG&E, in its quiet moments, would disagree that this may not have been the ideal site for a plant,” Newsom said at the Dec. 18 State Lands Commission meeting.

PG&E spokesman Tom Cuddy said an environmental review is not needed because PG&E is proposing no operational or design changes to its cooling system.

Newsom, who often voices support for green causes, has not ruled out approving the lease extensions. He urged the State Lands Commission to consider how Diablo Canyon fits into California’s attempts to halt global warming.

Unlike conventional power plants, Diablo Canyon does not pump any greenhouse gases into the sky.

Still, Newsom says he does believe the plant will stay open another 10 years.

“I just don’t see that this plant is going to survive beyond 2024, 2025,” Newsom said. “I just don’t see that. Now, I absolutely may be wrong, but that’s my punditry. And there is a compelling argument as to why it shouldn’t.”

Kaiser Bill

The plant is old. Even if Diablo is relicensed for another 20 years, that means the plant will close in 2044. That is 28 years, not a long period of time. The local governments and school district need to prepare for the economic reality of Diablo Canyon closing.


Too bad there aren’t plans in the works to replace Diablo with a state of the art plant when it comes time to shut it down.

No, I don’t work for PG&E.

Kaiser Bill

No one, even PG&E, is going to build another plant on that site with its myriad of fault lines.

The original plant was supposed to be in the Guadalupe Dunes, but the Sierra Club fought it. They compromised and agreed to Diablo Canyon. A Guadalupe Dunes Nuclear Plant would have been monumentally stupid, as it lies on a low lying coastal plain that could be hammered by a tsunami. Fukushima found that out the hard way.


So we have more CEQA abuses in store for Diablo?

Francesca Bolognini

Loads of PG&E dependents on this site. Always with the “We have no other means of power” or “we would have to go back to coal (oil, gas, etc.) as if nothing else existed. Or my favorite “We could only rely on renewables for about 20% of our power”, and “They are not reliable”. Really????? This argument probably works well for people who listen to Fox News or are completely disinterested in researching the topic, but just a few minutes on line would be a real eye opener for you guys, if indeed you actually believe that propaganda.

There are several countries in Europe, in climates much colder than the California Central Coast, that are going 100% green energy already, some actually exceeding their needs. Germany closed all their nukes years ago (immediately after that “safest, cleanest form of energy” Fukushima melted down. Continues to massively pollute the Pacific uncontrollably at this moment and for a long time to come, by the way. Won’t see that in the news, ’cause the nuclear oligarchy owns the media. Convenient, huh? Places in South America, including Costa Rica for one and Uruguay, which has a standard of living that surpasses ours, have also gone 100% green and renewable.

So, why are we still allowing the nuclear industry etc., to continue to keep us in the energy stone age and put us in danger of catastrophic disaster whilst creating mountains of a substance so toxic (plutonium) that it vastly exceeds anything in nature and has a half life of about a quarter of a million years, with us with no place to store it that would guarantee safety for future generations? Along with many other toxic byproducts that require transport and handling and are often inadequately stored. Not to mention radically elevated child leukemia rates near plants, along with a host of other cancer proliferation.

MONEY. Blinds people to all else. The worship and dependence upon PG&E’s MONEY. I fully expect employees of PG&E to troll the hell out of this post. You, unfortunately, cannot envision yourselves doing anything more socially productive for a living than the bidding of the nuclear oligarchy. Big easy payoffs for your sellout. Perhaps you are supporting a family. Well, money is not everything, if you are talented enough to work in a nuclear facility you could probably work elsewhere and if it goes wrong, well, so much for the family idea anyway.


You are absolutely correct Francesca!

I have collected a lot of information about this plant, real facts around it are scary.

For example they refuse to address the embrittlement issue of the reactors pressure vessel using vague arguments. Another big point is that there is not enough insurance coverage if an incident would ever happen at Diablo Canyon, in fact homeowners are unable to purchase a insurance that would cover their loss….

to much to list and so little real information.

I was planning to launch a local group informing the public what is going on at Diablo Canyon.


The group already exists.

It’s called Mother’s for Peace.


The mothers are a bit outdated in terms of social media activity ;-) e.g where are they in this forum?


There is not a single country in Europe that will be able to go 100% renewable energy. It is not possible to operated an integrated industrialized economy with such an unpredictable source of power. In addition, if we are going to shift to electric heating (for HVAC and water), electric cars and trains and buses, and drastically cut fossil fuel use we will have to at least double the production of electricity in the US.

The only reduction in CO2 and other Greenhouse Gases that has occurred in Europe is due to the recession and high unemployment reducing the use of gasoline and diesel for trucks, trains, and cars. None of the countries that signed the Kyoto Treaty has even come close to achieving the reduction in CO2 emissions that they pledged to achieve.


High unemployment in Germany the number one economy in Europe and the one stepping out of nuclear fission while generation well paid jobs in sustainable energy field?


Wonder where you got your figures from ;-)


PG&E plays coy on the future of Diablo Canyon nuclear plant

Doubts about whether PG&E’s corporate culture is capable of managing a fast-food storefront, much less a major nuclear power plant situated near dangerous earthquake faults, are rife. “There’s a very troubled safety culture at PG&E demonstrated by San Bruno that carries over to Diablo Canyon,” says Daniel O. Hirsch, a lecturer on nuclear policy at UC Santa Cruz.

Operational failures and bad economics consistently have bedeviled the state’s nuclear utilities, as they have the nuclear industry nationwide. Edison’s Santa Susana reactor suffered a partial meltdown just two years into its operation, though it continued operating until 1964; a fight over how to clean up the contaminated site is still going on. In 1976, PG&E shut down its Humboldt Bay nuclear plant in Eureka, which had gone online in 1963, to avoid the expense of a required seismic upgrade. The $125-million cost of required improvements also doomed Edison’s San Onofre unit 1, which operated from 1968 to 1992. Units 2 and 3 opened in 1983 and 1984, went dark in January 2012 after extreme wear was found in newly installed generators, and never relaunched. They were permanently retired June 2013. Edison and the PUC are still fighting over how much to saddle Edison customers for the premature shutdown.


Look at the great things he has done for San Fran,

San Francisco board reaffirms status as immigrant sanctuary,

AIDE QUITS AS NEWSOM’S AFFAIR WITH HIS WIFE IS REVEALED / Campaign manager confronts mayor, who is ‘in shock’


The power grid can only rely on solar, wind, and other renewables for about 20% of the power supply and still deliver a steady reliable power source. Stable power supply is critical for modern industries and electronic equipment. We have no hope of reducing global CO2 production without using a great deal of nuclear power in developed countries.

Kaiser Bill

Hydro. It is used to power much of the Northeast and is delivered from far off Quebec.


Hydro is maxed out as all of the viable locations have already been exploited. Plus hydro devastates the river ecosystem and is strongly opposed by almost every environmentalist.

Kaiser Bill

“Hydro is maxed out as all of the viable locations have already been exploited.”

That is not true. There are many dams that do not have hydroelectric power plants attached to them. All of the dams and reservoirs in this county, for example.

“Plus hydro devastates the river ecosystem and is strongly opposed by almost every environmentalist.”

The same can be said for wind and solar. Wind and solar eat up huge amounts of land and destroys the environment where it is located. Birds die in massive numbers wherever a wind farm exists. Wind and solar also mar the landscape with ugly massive structures, while a lake can be enjoyed for recreation.

Plus, wind and solar are not as effective as hydro. For that reason and given the amount of land wasted by conversion to wind and solar farms, it would be wise to shift focus to hydro.

Now rooftop solar would be a good idea.


Not true!

Solar and Wind generated in California during 2014 produced more energy than Diablo Canyon:

23,554 Gwh Solar and Wind ( Solar 10,557Gwh Wind 12,997Gwh)

17,072 Gwh Diablo Canyon

The data can be easily found on the website.

That data does not include rooftop solar! If it would be added to the mix Solar alone would produce more than Diablo Canyon.

So It would help you keep your facts straight when posting, time to wake up people!


Wait a minute.

Solar and wind generated throughout the ENTIRE state exceeded what Diablo produced?

How is that a fact to celebrate?


Its reason to celebrate because the entire solar capacity was installed in less than fife years!

And the totals are not including residential roof top capacity.

PG&E with its lobbyist and well payed employees love to claim that solar cannot replace nuclear, in fact it can and we have the numbers to prove it, in another 10 years no one will doubt it.


Total in State Production 137,830 Gwh Total Imported Power 97,870 Gwh

235,700 Gwh at the source

Total Wind and Solar 23,554 Gwh 9.9% from renewable 2014

Still half of the 20% max.

Fossil Fuel 13,396 Gwh Coal, 15 Gwh Oil, 121,934 Gwh Natural Gas

Total fossil fuel power source 135,345 including power imported from outside CA

Demand for electricity is growing with population and technology. To achieve meaningful CO2 reductions that would actually halt global warming we need to cut total fossil fuel consumption by at least 40%; including cars, trucks, buses, and trains. We can’t generate all that power with wind and solar. The rest of the world is using increasing amounts of fossil fuels as their population increases and their economies develop. So, we must make drastic cuts to our fossil fuel consumption in order to cut total global CO2 emissions. Nuclear power is the only technology that can generate the tens of millions of Gwh needed.


Sorry but you are distorting mathematical facts in favor of an dangerous and outdated technology that could cost all of us our home and future any day.

Total energy from renewable s used in California in 2014 were in fact:


ONLY 8.5% came in from Nuclear

There is no way to increase nuclear capacity in any relevant time frame, so i wonder on what your argument is based on to become carbon neutral quickly?

What we can do quickly is replace these 8% provided by Diablo Canyon with more solar panels. Just like we did in the last five years.

If i sum up your post, we should build more nuclear Power plants and that will take min 10 years? Are you serious?

Rich in MB


We don’t need no stink-n power….shut it down and burn Natural Gas emitting CO2.

Ya..that’s the ticket.


Or we could all start to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.


Reduce, reuse, and recycle will not achieve the reduction in global Greenhouse Gas emissions that is necessary to limit global climate change. Nuclear power is the only technology that can produce the millions of megawatt hours of power that will be needed to dramatically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Francesca Bolognini

Simply not true. Many other countries are already far surpassing us in this area, some generating more energy than they even use, from green renewable sources. Many with colder climates than we enjoy here.. The only thing slowing us down in this country is the oligarchy attacked to the dirty fuel money pump.

A few minutes of research on the internet would be very enlightening, if you actually believe what you are stating here.

Amazon, Google, etc., even PG&E and the Koch brothers are jumping on the solar bandwagon, the efficiency of which is multiplying rapidly and exponentially. The only reason we are still burdened with these filthy, antiquated money pits is that there has been such a ridiculous investment in them and they are expecting the public to throw their good money after bad to keep them afloat and continue to line the pockets of these already uberwealthy, which I for one choose not to do.


California the sunshine state needs only solar to produce enough energy:

in fact we already produced more solar and wind than this outdated nuclear power plant in 2014.

23,554 Gwh Solar and Wind ( Solar 10,557Gwh Wind 12,997Gwh)

17,072 Gwh Diablo Canyon

Kaiser Bill

Do you really want ugly solar and wind farms everywhere?

I think HYDRO is a better solution, and delivers more base line power than wind and solar.


I agree for inland plants close to forests and cities, but whats wrong with the middle of the desert or offshore wind power?

Kaiser Bill

Wind turbines kill birds. There is nothing more ugly than a wind turbines in a remote location. Why should we put up a bunch of human structures in wild lands?


I wonder who would vote someone down for posting facts…

well i guess all it takes is to receive a monthly check from PG&E


LOL, some very sensitive and emotional individuals at work here.

I can tell you, don’t worry you will find another job elsewhere, there is a future after Diablo Canyon, the world will not end together with the nuclear age.


This comes as no big surprise, given that Newsom (not “Newsroom”…) is a hard core leftist and green radical.

I still do not understand why the greenies are so terrified of the cleanest, safest power source so far yet discovered. The accident rate is far lower than other power sources, and the storage of spent fuel is a bogus issue considering the small amount of material and the size of the planet.

Perhaps it is a visceral issue, like guns, the mere sight of which send some into the vapors, so the word nuclear causes faint-headedness in the weak minded. Who knows, but it is definitely irrational. Or, if your goal is to eliminate all power sources maybe it is stealthly rational.


The reason you do not understand why “the greenies are so terrified of the cleanest, safest power source so far yet discovered,” is because you haven’t been paying attention since nuclear power was first hyped in the 1950s as the “Peaceful Atom.” Here’s three simple reasons nuclear power is neither clean nor safe: Three-Mile Island, Fukushima, Chernobyl. Next time you comment perhaps you will attempt a well-reasoned, logical argument rather than resort to a fallacious one?


Tell me what are the “accident” Rates for solar power?

The storage of used nuclear fuel is a Bogus issue?

Sure as long as it is not in your backyard, right?

How come all nations on this planet have a huge problem dealing with it, especially with the question what our predecessors in 100,000 years might encounter.

You should get your facts straight and not repeat cheap loobyist propaganda here.


Some information from PG&Es website:

Diablo Canyon annually contributes more than $900 million to the region (direct, indirect and induced benefits).

Diablo Canyon helps to make PG&E the largest private employer in the area with more than 1,500 workers and a payroll of more than $235 million.

Diablo Canyon annually spends more than $20 million locally on goods and services.

The plant is the largest property taxpayer in San Luis Obispo County – nearly $26 million for the fiscal year 2014/2015, which helps fund schools, public work projects, public safety, and health and other vital services.

Our economy in San Luis Obispo would experience a nuclear shock if Diablo were to close.


Best you could do is regurgitate a press release? It is the same Pg&E’s Tom Jones song and dance: that the SLO world will end if they do not get there way.

They save our county every year or so they say, Tom is trying to save the Adam Hill campaign right now. Same $ different day.

It is amazing that we could even exist without our blessed corporate overlards.

“A public utility’s track record of safely operating its system is dependent on more than messages and slogans,” PUC President Michael Picker said “An effective safety culture is shaped by the governance, policies, budget, practices, and most of all, the accountability set by the top leadership.”


Should I have made up my own statistics? How would our county replace all of those $100k/year + jobs at PG&E – with higher government salaries?


achillesheal says: “How would our county replace all of those $100k/year + jobs at PG&E – with higher government salaries?”

Higher government salaries? What are you talking about, the county does not “replace jobs” if a business fails or moves away.

Even if Diablo cyn shut down on Tuesday there would be many 100K jobs for decades as they cleaned it up, if they can. All of those jobs paid for by the rate payers, not local gov.


Correct. Government cannot replace jobs and for a local tax base, our housing market, downtown businesses and car dealerships to thrive we need people who earn decent money to live here such as pg&e employees.

If they leave the majority of decent jobs remaining are state, county and city jobs. In case you haven’t notice, we kind of have a lack of industry around here, which makes it a nice place to live but a difficult place to earn decent money despite the new $10 per hr minimum wage.


If Diablo Canyon were to ever shut down you will see the San Luis Obispo Coastal School District decimated by loss of revenue.


…and the taxpayer forced to burden the shortfall (not just you but all taxpayers).

Francesca Bolognini

I have always questioned why we are relying on a monopoly utility that works to prevent municipalities from developing cleaner and much more cost effective forms of alternative power for the financing of our educational system. This situation is reeking of corruption, as is the whole regulatory culture, that simply alters safety requirements any time that a plant does not comply. Nuclear is the most expensive and dirtiest form of energy generation there is. It creates pollution in many ways, both radioactive and carbon based. If you bother to research the entire process, you would know.

Childhood leukemia is super high in the area surrounding the plant. How could this possibly be the best way to finance our schools? Would a cleaner source of energy not generate any taxes, could we not return to the tax structure we had when the middle class existed and finance education that way again? Seriously.


1200 People work at Diablo Canyon, here Jobs in the Solar Industry:

There are currently more than 2,262 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in California, employing 54,700 people.

Kaiser Bill

Yes, Diablo is important. But the plant is going to close at some point anyway within the next 30 years. The local governments need to prepare for that eventuality.


There are currently more than 2,262 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in California, employing 54,700 people.

In 2014, California installed 4,316 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking it 1st nationally.

The 11,535 MW of solar energy currently installed in California ranks the state first in the country in installed solar capacity.

There is enough solar energy installed in the state to power 2,891,000 homes.

In 2014, $11.773 billion was invested on solar installations in California. 

This represents a 66% increase over the previous year, and is expected to grow again this year.

Average installed residential and commercial photovoltaic system prices in California have fallen by 5% in the last year.  National Prices have also dropped steadily- by 6% from last year and 53% from 2010.

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