Plans to shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant near Avila beach are still underway. It is the last nuclear plant left in California, and clean energy activists are fighting against the closure.
The almost 40-year-old nuclear plant’s regulatory license is set to expire in 2024 and 2025.
Environmental activists, scientists, and elected officials made their voices heard today against the closure of Diablo Canyon.
“California's climate future matters a lot and Diablo Canyon is the single largest source of clean energy in California," said Dr. Seaver Wang, senior climate and energy analyst. "Most importantly, if the Diablo Canyon is closed as scheduled, it will throw a major wrench into California's decarbonization plans.”
“We again are in a climate and energy crisis," said Isabelle Boemeke, founder and executive director of the Save Clean Energy organization. "The state needs more energy not less and we need more clean energy not less of it."
While the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) plant is sourcing clean energy, others in favor of the closure say that nuclear energy leaves a hidden carbon footprint when looking at the production behind it.
“When you think of the mining of uranium, the milling, the enrichment, the building of the nuclear plant with hundreds of tons of cement and concrete," said Linda Seeley, the spokesperson for Mothers for Peace organization.
Other concerns about keeping the plant open include the nuclear waste and the earthquake fault lines where the plant is located, however, clean energy advocates say that’s taken into consideration during the licensing process.
“It would have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the regulators that would meet standards for risk management in the event of earthquakes," said Seaver.
In 2015, PG&E said the plant was evaluated by the nuclear regulatory commission, and the results show it is able to withstand seismic activity as well as large waves and flooding.
As of now, PG&E is moving forward with the closure in a statement to KSBY News, PG&E said:
“The state has made clear its position on nuclear energy and the plan to retire Diablo Canyon power plant has been approved by the California public utilities commission and the state legislature. Our focus therefore remains on safely and reliably operating the plant until the end of its NRC licenses which expire in 2024 and 2025.”
PG&E is currently taking suggestions on how this land and facilities can be used in the future.