Pacific Gas and Electric Co. hopes to keep producing nuclear energy at Diablo Canyon Power Plant long into the future.
On Tuesday, PG&E officials announced the company is seeking federal approval for license renewal of the two nuclear reactors at the power plant that sits on the coast just north of Avila Beach.
If approved, the plant’s operation would be extended for another 20 years past the current operating licenses. One of the reactor’s license expires in 2024 and the other in 2025.
At a news conference Tuesday, John Conway, PG&E senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, said the license extensions for the plant were “important for the environmental and economic health of California.”
“As a company and as a state we must support every option for meeting California’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals while providing 24/7 reliability,” Conway said. “Extending Diablo Canyon’s ability to operate for another 20 years helps us do just that.”
State law has established a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
The two reactors at Diablo Canyon produce approximately 18,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually — enough to power nearly
3 million California homes — with almost zero greenhouse gas emissions, according to PG&E.
The license-extension process for nuclear power plants is managed and regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which will conduct safety and environmental analyses and site audits at Diablo. The public will also be provided with opportunities to comment on the application.
The process can take up to four years, and PG&E submitted the license-renewal application for Diablo Canyon to the NRC earlier this week, officials said.
Several county officials also attended the press conference, which was held in San Luis Obispo, and spoke of the economic benefits the nuclear power plant brings to the area.
“This is about more than just Diablo Canyon,” said Tom Bordonaro Jr., county assessor. “This is about ensuring we have the power to light our homes, operate our businesses, have a stable tax base to support essential government services and have head-of-household jobs.”
PG&E pays millions of dollars in property tax to the county for the plant.