|Project Details||The Diablo Canyon nuclear facility near San Luis Obispo was the only nuclear energy plant left in California by 2016. It was approved in the late 1960s when public sentiment in California was starting to shift from embracing nuclear power to opposing it (1). PG&E made in 1977 its 5th revision to costs. Unit 1 costs were $695,000,000 with an operational date of 3/15/78. Unit 2 costs were $560,000,000 with an operational date of 10/15/78 (4). Diablo Canyon's two units had a capacity of 1,073 and 1,087 MWe, generatings almost 18,000 gigawatt-hours of power each year, powering 1.7 million homes. By itself, Diablo Canyon, operated by Pacific Gas & Electric, accounted for nearly 9 percent of California's electricity production. PG&E could have applied for a 20-year extension through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.|
As required by California law, PG&E has established a trust fund created by ratepayers, through their electricity bills over the course of decades, to cover decommissioning costs. The trust fund for Diablo Canyon is nearly $2.8 billion. In PG&E's most recent submission to the California Public Utilities Commission, the utility estimated it would cost $3.779 billion to decommission Diablo Canyon. (3). The nuclear waste will be kept on site because, as in the case with all nuclear facilities in the US, companies are not liable for final disposal: it is the federal government's responsibility to ultimately find places to deposit nuclear waste. However, with the proposed depository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada scrapped, nuclear facilities keep spent fuel at their respective sites.
For nuclear's supporters, Diablo Canyon was seen as essential to deliver reliable, base-load power and an effective way to reach the state's ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "Diablo Canyon is an absolutely necessary part of the energy mix in California," had said Eugene Grecheck, president of the American Nuclear Society. This was not to be, however. It's not just California. There are 99 nuclear reactors in the U.S. providing in 2016, 19 percent of the nation's electricity. But the majority of those 99 plants are over 30 years old.