On June 21, 2016, PG&E announced a proposal written with labor and environmental organizations to increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables and storage, while phasing out nuclear power. Specifically, the operating licenses for Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 will not be renewed. These were set to expire on November 2, 2024 and August 26, 2025 respectively. Diablo Canyon has been famous in the annals of environmental struggles since the 1960s (4), when in 1966 the Sierra Club Board voted to endorse the Diablo Canyon site. They discovered later that it was home to the largest Abalone site in California. A major campaign to reverse the astonishing endorsement of the atomic plant by the Sierrra Club was started by several board members inclusiding David Brower. All this led to the founding of Friends of the Earth. There was civil disobedience and many protests against Diablo Canyon. In 1977, "activists staged civil disobedience at the gates of Diablo Canyon.
47 were arrested while 1,500 others showed support at a nearby rally. Activists did statewide teach-ins to educate the public about Diablo Canyon and nukes" (4). In September 1981,"the Abalone Alliance starts a blockade of Diablo Canyon that lasts two weeks. Over 1,900 people are arrested, while tens of thousands show up to support them" (4). In any case Diablo Canyon was built (although it was alleged that the site suffered the risk of an earthquake) and it functioned until 2016, when the decisions was taken to close it down. Political and environmental presures lies behind this decisions. In October 2010 a major controversy had arisen when California enacted a new policy banning the use of antiquated "once-through cooling" systems, which allow coastal power plants to directly take in and discharge massive amounts of sea water -- causing significant damage to marine creatures and the environment. While all plants were supposed to comply with the policy by 2015, Diablo Canyon was given the opportunity to instead explain by 2015 why they should not comply with the policy or face compliance by 2024. As Diablo Canyon caused some 80 percent of the damage to the marine environment of all the coastal power plants combined, excluding Diablo from the policy would make a mockery of the program. (5). ========================================= == In June 2016, pro-nuclear analysts still lament that Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County, California is closing down. They say that "the plant is safe, can withstand an large earthquake, tsunami and any other disaster, provides billions to the local economy, and produces more clean energy than all the wind turbines in California combined".(2) For critics who have long insisted that nuclear power is inherently dangerous and too expensive, the prospect of delivering a death blow to Diablo was something to relish. "Two nuclear plants are down in California and we're working on a third one which is Diablo Canyon," said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California, referring to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in early 2012 and the Rancho Seco plant near Sacramento in 1989. (1). PG&E claims that nuclear energy will be replaced completely with gains in efficiency and renewables. "But the proposal’s details do not back this up. In fact, it calls for implementing renewables and efficiency equal to only about a quarter of Diablo Canyon’s generation. Instead, experts agree, the generation will mainly be replaced by natural gas, and attempts to buy energy from out-of-state." (2). Whether it is solar and wid, or increased efficiency, or natural gas that replaces Diablo Canyon, the fact is that its closing down signals the end of nuclear commercial energy in California. The decommisioning expenditures will be very high , and as usual there is no clear plan for coping with the nuclear waste. On the whole, however, the closure plan is a final blow for commercial nuclear energy in California. The impending closure of Diablo Canyon would leave just one nuclear plant on the West Coast, the Columbia Generating Station, about 200 miles outside of Seattle. To craft the closing down proposal, PG&E worked with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment California, Friends of the Earth and the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility.