We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

California Closing Last Nuclear Plant After 3 Decades

marya / Flickr

The nuclear fueled Diablo Canyon Power Plant — in San Luis Obispo County, California.

marya / Flickr

Updated 9:57 p.m.

The last nuclear power plant in California would shut down within a decade, under a deal announced Tuesday between electric utility PG&E, environmental advocates and labor groups.

Pacific Gas & Electric has agreed to close the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in 2025, instead of continuing to pursue a new lease that would allow it to run into the mid-2040s.

“The demand is not there to justify the continued operation of Diablo Canyon,” says company spokesman Blair Jones.

Last year, California lawmakers raised renewable energy and efficiency requirements for utilities. PG&E says it will now cost it, and ratepayers, less to close the nuclear plant, which generates about 9 percent of power in the state.

“The most important part of what happened here, I think, was a change in the views of PG&E itself about what makes sense for its system, in light of changes in California energy and climate policy,” says Ralph Cavanagh of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who was involved in the negotiations.

The agreement calls for PG&E to fill the electricity gap created by Diablo Canyon's closure by purchasing renewable power and starting new energy efficiency programs.

Cavanagh says it’s the first time a utility has agreed to entirely replace a nuclear plant's energy generation without substituting fossil fuels.

In 2014, PG&E estimated the cost of decommissioning the plant as $3.8 billion.

Under the agreement, the company will also pay $350 million in salaries, severance and job training for current plant workers, who will remain on the job until the 2025 closure.

Another $50 million will help maintain payments to San Luis Obispo County at current property tax levels, even as the price of the property decreases. The company will seek to pass those costs on to ratepayers.

The utility is already collecting money from ratepayers into a fund for decommissioning.

State regulators still must approve the deal.

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant first began producing electricity in 1984.


(AP) - A utility company and environmental groups have reached an agreement that will close California's last nuclear power plant, ending the state's nuclear power era.

The state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and the groups said Tuesday that the Diablo Canyon plant will close by 2025. The accord would resolve disputes about the plant that helped fuel the anti-nuclear movement nationally.

The 30-year-old plant supplies 9 percent of California's annual power. The agreement will replace it with solar power and other forms of renewable energy.

The move ends a power source once predicted as necessary to meet the growing energy needs of the state.


Sign up for ReCap

and never miss the top stories

Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.