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20 May 2004 - Avila Beach, California - In a photo provided by Pacific Gas & Electric, the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is seen at its coastal location. Since 9/11 PG&E, operator of the power plant, has tighter security measures that include additional vehicle inspection points and an increase in armed security officers present along both the multiple concentric perimeters and within the plant itself.Photo Credit: Michael A. Mariant/SIPA Press

Diablo Phaseout

Utility sector retreat from nuclear power expands

Pacific Gas & Electric has announced it plans to shut down California’s last nuclear generating unit, the Diablo Canyon facility.

It plans to make up for the lost power with renewables and other sources of electricity that do not contribute to climate change, according to news coverage in the New York Times.

“There’s just not going to be enough need to have to run your nuclear plant,” said Tony Earley, PG&E’s chief executive, according to the article.

The Times reported:

“ The future of many of the country’s 99 nuclear reactors — a majority of which are more than 30 years old — is looking grim. The flood of cheap natural gas and slowing demand for electricity have driven down power prices, making it difficult for the aging plants to compete in wholesale markets. In recent years, several plants have shut down before their licenses expired, and more early closings are planned or threatened around the country.”

PG&E plans were subsequently bolstered by the State Lands Commission, which granted the utility a new lease to keep the plant operating through 2025, according to a news account in SFGate.

The federal operating license for Diablo will expire in nine years. 

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