California will close its last nuclear plant
Last month, state utility regulators decided to close down California’s last nuclear power plant. Diablo Canyon will be closed in 2025 after a unanimous vote by the California Public Utilities Commission. State law forbids building more nuclear plants in California until the federal government is able to create a long-term solution for dealing with their waste, which is a goal that has remained elusive despite decades of effort. Diablo Canyon is owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) and is the state’s largest power plant, supplying 9 percent of California’s electricity while producing no greenhouse gases. Commission President Michael Picker stated,
With this decision, we chart a new energy future by phasing out nuclear power here in California. We’ve looked hard at all the arguments, and we agree the time has come.
PG&E had opened Diablo Canyon in 1985 on a coastal bluff near San Luis Obispo despite opposition from environmentalists due to the plant’s proximity to fault lines potentially posing a lethal risk to public safety. Diablo Canyon is the San Luis Obispo County’s fourth-largest employer, generating an estimated $1 billion per year into the local economy. PG&E estimated that customer bills would rise less than 0.5 percent on an annual basis as a result of the commission’s decision in order to offset costs related to shutting down the plant, including retaining its staff. PG&E had proposed spending $85 million in the surrounding communities over the next seven years to help lessen the loss of tax revenue, but the commission rejected it, saying it would require action by the Legislature. San Luis Obispo County will be the hardest hit from the nuclear plants closure, but hopefully an alternative energy site can be built within the county.