Lawmakers vote to push back Diablo Canyon closure to 2030

September 1, 2022

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

California lawmakers have passed a bill calling to extend the operating life of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant by five years, pushing back its closure from 2025 to 2030.

Introduced by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and co-authored by Central Coast Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, a Republican, Senate Bill 864 calls for the state of California to lend PG&E up to $1.4 billion to facilitate the extension of Diablo Canyon’s operating period. The bill also allocates $1 billion toward the development of renewable energy sources.

SB 864 passed the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 31 to 1.The bill passed the Assembly early Thursday morning on a 69 to 3 vote.

Diablo Canyon had been set to be decommissioned in 2025, after 40 years in operation. The nuclear plant provides nearly 10 percent of California’s electric power.

Late last year, Assemblyman Cunningham and Democratic SLO 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 argued.

In February, 79 scientists sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom requesting the governor help delay closure of the plant. Shortly afterwards, the SLO County Board of Supervisors decided to send a letter to Newsom supporting a delay in the closure of Diablo Canyon.

The issue of extending the lifespan of the nuclear power plant has pitted those calling for California to address its energy deficiencies against activists expressing environmental and safety concerns.

“Amid a scorching heatwave that is threatening blackouts, California’s lawmakers made the right choice in preserving California’s largest and most reliable clean energy source,” American Nuclear Society President Steven Arndt and Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy said in a joint statement.

Prior to the votes in the Senate and Assembly, Mothers for Peace called SB 864 a “monster bailout bill” and urged legislators to reject it.

SB 864 would “allow shortcuts and sweeping exemptions from environmental reviews on seismic vulnerability and an unlawful cooling system. There is no storage capacity for high-level radioactive waste past 2025,” Mothers for Peace stated on its website.


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Rambunctious

They better do something… I saw a meme with a Tesla towing a gas generator behind it… laugh as I did but will that picture come to fruition?….


mazin

You mean something is needed to make electricity?


GreatGuy

Anyone who has rented a storage locker knows how expensive it can be month to month to store a few carloads of junk. Now imagine the cost of storing millions of pounds of toxic radioactive waste and having to pay for that for at least 10,000 years.


MILLIONS of pounds of waste are currently being stored in what are officially “temporary“ storage facilities directly up the hill from the old lady of the Canyon They are “temporary“ because they have been deemed by nuclear power experts to be unsafe for long-term storage. The thing is, nobody has a viable and accepted plan for permanent i.e. “safe” long term storage.

Anyone who has Run a storage locker facility knows that most people end up storing their stuff twice as long as they expected and paying much more than they ever expected when they first put their stuff up in storage. That’s no different than the storage of nuclear waste except the scale is much larger and much much much much much much much more expensive and dangerous.

Those are the facts but most people are too emotionally attached to their ideas to actually do the fairly simple math that makes it clear that the ultimate cost of a nuclear power generated By the outmoded technology at Diablo Canyon will cost our community “hugely“ for years and years and years. And if during the next 10,000 years there happens to be a large and unplanned for earthquake or tsunami, “ better come quick with the iodine.”


Adam Trask

Excellent analogy.


mazin

We are talking six more years to assist the transition.


GreatGuy

Considering that Diablo produces more than 1000 pounds of radioactive waste per week, six more years of operation means another 300,000 pounds of toxic radioactive waste. At least. All of which will be remain toxic for at least 10,000 years, some of it many times longer than that. That is some heavy storage cost.


UvalDeez Nuts

You storing nuclear waste in your storage locker? Can I burrow your phone?


GreatGuy

This so-called “old lady of the canyon” is outmoded technology, generating tons more toxic waste each year compared with the latest nuclear power plant designs. Storing, monitoring and transportation of toxic radioactive waste is extremely expensive. Each year “ The old lady of the canyon“ poops out tons more waste than a contemporary designed plant. That means there will be a large increase in the amount of waste that will need to be stored, increasing the annual cost. Multiply that by 10,000 years and you will have an idea of how much taxpayers will be paying extra for every year Diablo Canyon continues to operate. The energy will seem cheap now but hundreds of generations down the line will be paying for it. The facts are so unbelievably staggering that nobody— liberals or conservatives —wants to talk about it or even think about it. What does it mean to make generations and generations after us pay for our excesses? It seems most people could not care less. Maybe generations that come after us will somehow have the grace to forgive us.


UvalDeez Nuts

You should wear this on a two sided billboard and walk up and down the street ringing a bell!


Jorge Estrada

I’m waiting for the French reactors to go in sooner than later. As for safety, even the Ukraine vs Russia expensive disagreement avoid the nuclear reactor, they even took a shooting at each other break to assure nuclear safety. That speaks volumes about the concern for nuclear safety as well as what global devastation is possible. The reactors can be safe but I don’t know about people? ????


unusualsuspect

I have more of a problem with this wishy washy nonsense than i do with nuclear power :/ It’s complicated, but at the same time it’s not. Too many voices in the room! End the empowerment era!


mullyman

The Quote !! LOAN !! by Ca will and is paid for by the taxpayers and will be added to your monthly bill like the numerous other items are on your bill now. PG&E is a !! MONOPOLY !! and will make Billions off the ratepayers again. They seem to be doing quite well for a company that claimed bankruptcy


ddc1983

The California government hasn’t taken accountability for their costly decision in 2016 not to relicense the plant. At that time, they claimed that their projections showed that California would have way too much power in the 2020s and wouldn’t need Diablo. After all, they pledged to ramp up solar/wind/hydro while installing tons of battery storage facilities. They soon found that it was shortsighted thinking, and that California needs Diablo’s baseline power in the 2020s after all.

Unfortunately, this 11th hour backtrack means that the utility must scramble to do all the relicense work in 1 year that could have been done 5 years ago. The utility has also spent millions already on decommissioning, employee retention, and other end-of-life expenses… all sunk costs now. The 1.4 billion dollar loan from California is, in the end, the result of government mistakes. Somehow, I doubt you’ll ever hear Newsom or his affiliates ever own up to that … despite being the ones to push the extension of Diablo Canyon.