Biden wants Diablo Canyon in SLO County to remain open

December 3, 2021

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The Biden Administration is encouraging the state of California to consider keeping Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant open, rather than shutting it down by 2025, as planned. Diablo Canyon currently provides 10% of California’a electric power. [Reuters]

In an interview with Reuters, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said she is willing to talk with state officials about keeping Diablo Canyon open.

“This is clean dispatchable base load power,” Granholm said. “I know the decision has been made already to close it down, perhaps it’s something that they might reconsider.”

Granholm added that there may be a shift in public opinion on nuclear power.

“California has been very bullish on zero-carbon emission energy,” Granholm told Reuters. “It may be something that they decide to take a look at, given that I think there is a change underfoot about the opinion that people may have about nuclear.”

Recently, Republican Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham and Democratic San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg called for officials not to rush the closure of Diablo Canyon. Officials should reconsider whether the nuclear power plant remains open at least 10 years past its scheduled decommissioning in 2025, Cunningham and Ortiz-Legg stated.

Currently, PG&E’s position remains that Diablo Canyon will be decommissioned as scheduled.

On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced it is seeking feedback from local communities about whether they would host interim sites to store nuclear waste. The proposal could lead to a more permanent solution for dealing with radioactive waste currently stored in casks and pools at 76 reactor sites across 34 states.


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commonsenseguy

A little late to the closing Joe. What have you been doing the last 50 years as a bloviating career politician? I would like to see it continue in full operation, but we’ll all have to see how it plays out.


Let the environmental religion have their ugly wind turbines polluting our scenic pristine coastline and all the solar panels they desire along with the continued operation of Diablo Canyon. Sounds like a win-win to me on many levels. Maybe the honorable Jordan Cunningham and Ortiz-Legg will work together from both sides of the isle to make this happen locally.


LeroyMoo

I’ve pondered the 400MW for 8 hours Pecho Compressor Generator station all week. Pecho can actually be a huge compliment to the local 230kV system for Diablo Canyon Powerplant black-start. For public safety the CAISO is mandated to restore 230kV startup to Diablo during a system blackout and it will always be the number 1 priority, as long as there is fuel in a reactor or spent fuel pool. This electric system blackout priority dwarfs any other focus in the state during a total system blackout. Without Diablo, Pecho to me has only token value as the CAISO has to defend who would get the limited resources during an island condition. Without Diablo it may no longer be as important to prioritize restoring distribution circuits with sirens on them.

I worried and was prepared to blackstart Diablo Canyon 230kV power everyday before retiring. I know there is a way to configure Pecho for the purpose of black-starting Diablo. Conversely, a steam plant like the 2014 retired Morro Bay Powerplants 3&4 had nil-ductility heat-up constraints and weren’t equipped with a startup generator to be able to draw condenser vacuum, so MBPP was never a black-start plant. The historic route to black-start 230kV to Diablo is a complicated routing of small hydro to Helms PP (reliable stored energy) through a series of 230kV stations while adding just enough distribution load to off-set Ferranti-effect high voltage caused by lightly loaded huge capacitance conductor/wires. It usually took us a minimum of 2 hours to do this rolling of the hydros and switching via SCADA on the stand alone simulator. It would likely take longer in reality, especially if there are communication issues. With Pecho generation (400MWx8hrs=3200MW/hr) you tap into the Morro Bay-Diablo 230kV Line and during a full system blackout you can island the Los Padres Transmission system by energizing both toward Diablo and Morro Bay Switch Station to restore substation battery chargers and then put on 15MWs of distribution load on the Morro Bay 1101 & 1102 circuits. That will lower voltage enough on the lightly loaded MB-Diablo 230kV Line, so that Diablo can energize the 230kV startup banks and power house loads so they can put their diesels generators in standby again. DCPP decides in that first 24 hours which units they will attempt to restart and start circulating sea water to draw condenser vacuum. If Diablo misses the one day restart window before Zenon and Samarium poison fission daughter products force a delay (massive reactor coolant system boric acid dilution, which means DCPP will wait 3-4 days before restarting if they miss the first window), then it is highly likely the rest of transmission system is restored anyway. But, at least Diablo would have 55MWs for starting up one unit for 58 hours or 29 hours for two units with the big IF, if DCPP bureaucracy allows them to restart in the first 24 hours. If the 230kV system forecast isn’t sufficiently robust and tied to the grid at Midway or Gates substations, then DCPP can’t justify restarting and paralleling to the 500kV system if they think the 230kV startup source might be interrupted again.

The CAISO or Grid Control Center could make the above happen if Diablo wants to restart a unit in the first day and that 58 hours for a single unit startup become longer if you restore one of two 230kV lines to Topaz solar. Topaz wasn’t originally capable of black-start and I doubt that has changed. But, without storage batteries or Helms pumped storage or the proposed Pecho Air Compressor plant their isn’t a way to black-start Diablo from an isolated Morro Bay/Los Padres Transmission system island or the above described current path.

I do realize Pecho has its own environmental hurdles like noise abatement, house diesel generator(s), thousands of gallons of chromated water in the compressor service cooling water system, stored chlorine gas for algae control and the water vapor/greenhouse gas issue of a huge evaporative cooling pond. Time will tell.


Adam Trask

Close it. Spend the millions it would take to retrofit on solar and wind. We already have thousands of tons of spent fuel which we don’t know what to do with.


kayaknut

Yeah, we’d have to only cover the entire county in solar panels and have wind turbines along the entire coast and it still wouldn’t equal Diablo’s output, and of course use no electricity at night when solar is useless or when there is no wind.


LeroyMoo

Clearly you have made up your mind that the climate is not changing very rapidly. Otherwise, it is illogical to invest billions into solar and wind generators that are weather dependent on a near future non-predictable climate?

At least buy American made equipment instead of helping German windmill companies and Chinese solar panel panels if your representatives insist on those types of generators.

Look at the CAISO website to see the abundance of solar energy produced during the day that backs-off fossil powerplants to only be connected as rolling reserve, which sometimes is more lucrative to be rolling reserve. So, much solar that the system can afford 10%+ energy losses by rectifying to storage batteries or running compressor based generators both of which have efficiency heat losses.


Adam Trask

Why don’t you just quote what the actual scientists have to say if you want to blow up my argument. Your posts make little sense.


https://energy.stanford.edu/publications/assessment-diablo-canyon-nuclear-plant-zero-carbon-electricity-desalination-and


Slosum

New nuke is the way of the future. Diablo can be a guiding example, if Jackson Brown and Bonnie Raitt stay out of it!!! But their music is great.


bjsbizniz

Biden does not run things. He does what he is told. A deeper dive and closer look behind the curtain is in order folks!


Side_Show_Bob

Probably the wisest request Biden has made since taking office.


Jorge Estrada

Again, it will remain intact until 2050 with minor fail safes. I say stop wasting nonproductive costly dialogue with the pigeon people and spend dollars on the replacement reactors that will consume the waste PG&E’s old reactor has created.


truthinscience

I applaud President Biden’s sentiments, but as they say, “A day late and a dollar short”. Far too many people are NOW coming out to support Diablo’s continued operation, including myself (for at least 10 years), but at this point it is far from reality. One of the biggest hurdles to continued operation is that PG&E wants out of the nuclear power business as it is a HUMONGOUS financial and legal risk that they cannot afford going forward beyond 2025. Case in point – the cost of devastating wildfires. And certainly no other company will be willing to step in, take ownership, and run it, which would probably take at least ten years just to negotiate and accomplish, if it were doable. Many key long-term nuclear operations personnel have departed PG&E in the past several years and more will be retiring or leaving PG&E very shortly — after all, they have to plan their lives and cannot hang on a decision to continue operating. The company and the NRC are far down the road of Diablo shutdown decommissioning. And certainly California will not remove its coastal water and land regulations to allow continued once-through ocean water cooling — to replace that would be impossible, requiring VAST quantities of fresh water for an on-land cooling tower system that would cost BILLIONS $ and take many years to construct. There you go RQ Public — You (We all) have been FAR TOO complacent (or ineffective) over the past ten years in expressing a desire to keep Diablo Canyon running past 2025, which it is designed to do for another 20 to 30 years. I deeply respect President Biden, but at this point it is just hot air, having no teeth (substance). If California could declare an emergency (overriding ALL restrictions) for the next 10 to 15 years, negating all regulatory requirements governing Diablo’s operation and shutting down all anti-nuclear concerns, then that would be quite an achievement — which just is not possible in the current regulatory and legislative climate. There are just too many pointy-hat people in state government and the public who do not want nuclear power, even though it is one of the most important and critical elements in our fight of climate change. This is the hard reality. A day late and a dollar short, demonstrating America’s lack of intelligence to understand the real world around us and to make long-term plans in support of the continued existence of humanity. Humanity is on a permanent, long downward spiral to extinction that it cannot extricate itself from.


Jon Tatro

I couldn’t agree more with keeping Diablo open but old Joe is to late. As Biden’s policies shut down gas and fossil fuels he is feeling the heat from Americans tired of exorbitant gas, diesel and heating prices. This was blatantly obvious to occur but not to old Joe.