Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has formally requested to withdraw its application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for renewal of reactor Units 1 and 2 at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The utility instead plans to shut down California’s last operational atomic energy facility within a decade.
“PG&E hereby requests to withdraw the [license renewal application] for DCPP Units 1 and 2, and all associated correspondence and commitments,” the company said in a March 7 letter to the NRC, which was posted on the agency’s website Thursday. “The decision to withdraw the LRA is based on the determination that continued baseload operation of the two DCPP units beyond their currently approved operating periods is not necessary to meet California’s projected energy demand requirements.”
The reactors went online in 1985 and 1986. PG&E in November 2009 filed the application requesting the NRC renew their licenses for another 20 years past the end of their current expiration dates: Unit 1 in November 2024 and Unit 2 in August 2025.
But in June 2016 PG&E, along with a group of environmental and labor organizations, issued a “Joint Proposal” to close Diablo Canyon and replace its power output with other forms of greenhouse gas-free energy. At that time, the company asked the NRC to suspend its review of the license renewal plan.
The California Public Utilities Commission approved much of the closure plan in January, though it rejected key components, including using $85 million in ratepayer fees to support local communities around San Luis Obispo County following the loss of the plant’s tax revenue. In February, PG&E said it would not contest the commission’s ruling.