Calif.’s last operating nuclear power plant to shut down in less than a decade

Calif.’s last operating nuclear power plant to shut down in less than a decade

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant, California’s last operating electricity-generating nuclear power plant, recently announced plans to stop operating in less than a decade, putting more stress on the Golden State’s already stressed-out power grid.

PG&E, which owns and operates the nuclear power plant, announced earlier this week that it plans to close the plant when its license expires in 2025 to meet the renewable energy policy goals of the state.

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant has been operating since 1985, and it is a major provider of electricity for northern California. But, it has come under criticism recently after critics warned that there is a seismic risk because there are earthquake faults nearby. However, the company claims that the facility is designed to withstand quakes likely for the area.

The plan generates nearly one-fifth of PG&E’s total annual electricity production in the company's service territory. It has two nuclear reactors and generates electricity for as many as 1.7 million homes.

Travis Miller, a senior analyst with Morningstar, aid, “The primary beneficiary is going to be any kind of renewable power generator and renewable energy developer. They (PG&E) won’t build it all themselves. Any third-party energy developer is going to benefit that can sell their power into northern California.”

In its most recent regulatory filing, PG&E estimated that decommissioning of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant will cost $3.8 billion. As of March 31, 2016, the facility’s nuclear decommissioning trust accounts held nearly $2.8 billion.