Morning Briefing - December 10, 2018
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December 10, 2018

Diablo Canyon Reactors’ Closure Dates Set

By ExchangeMonitor

Pacific Gas and Electric has confirmed the specific dates at which it will retire the two reactors at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California.

The utility said in a Nov. 27 letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it plans to shut down reactor Unit 1 on Nov. 2, 2024, and Unit 2 on Aug. 26, 2025. Those are the dates on which the reactors’ NRC licenses expire.

However, the closure schedule for the second reactor is dependent on the California State Water Board authorizing Unit 2 to continue using its once-through cooling system up through closure, James Welsch, PG&E chief nuclear officer and vice president for nuclear generation, wrote in a letter to the NRC.

The company in June 2016 first announced its plan to retire the Diablo Canyon reactors as their licenses expired. The nuclear regulator in April approved PG&E’s request to withdraw its license renewal application for the reactors.

In line with PG&E’s earlier explanations, Welsch wrote that “PG&E’s decision to withdraw the LRA was based on the determination that the continued baseload operation of the two DCPP units beyond the currently approved operating periods is not necessary to meet PG&’s projected energy demand requirements. This decision was also in support of the state policy to meet California future electricity needs with renewable generation sources.”

Separately, the NRC on Dec. 4 reopened the comment period for the license transfer application for the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey, which closed in September.

Owner Exelon has applied to transfer the plant’s operating and spent fuel storage licenses to Holtec International, which would assume all responsibility for decommissioning, site restoration, and fuel management. The companies hope for a decision from the agency in 2019.

The initial comment period ended on Nov. 19. But in response to a request, the NRC is extending it through Jan. 9 to give the public additional time to provide input. Comments can be submitted at www.regulations.gov, Docket ID NRC-2018-0237.