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Why wait until 2025 to close Diablo Canyon? via The Tribune

PG&E has reached an agreement (currently being reviewed by the state Public Utilities Commission) with environmental groups not to seek re-licensing for Diablo Canyon, thus ending energy production in 2025. 

Some, including the Mothers for Peace in San Lois Obispo, are still working to close Diablo sooner. The administrative law judge in these PUC proceedings has agreed that considering closing the plant earlier than 2025 is a legitimate issue that can be addressed. 

Pro nuclear groups have suggested such an early closure would be a blow to our state’s fight against global warming. However, even assuming nuclear power may be needed globally while transitioning from fossil fuels, Diablo itself has no impact on global warming and, as the most dangerously situated nuclear power plant in the U.S., according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the California Energy Commission (CEC), it is not worth the risk to California.

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The real figure goes even lower. In 2015, the state’s hydro power was the lowest this century because of the drought. A lower hydro percentage raises that of nuclear. In an average hydro year Diablo’s energy would only be 5 percent. And these California Energy Commission statistics exclude sources less than one megawatt, excluding all new roof top solar. If these sources are added Diablo’s 5 percent drops to potentially 4 percent or less.

When these facts were noted at a recent California Energy Commission meeting Chairman Robert Weisenmiller added that, in fact, generating electrical energy in California (see transcript pages 54-59) only produces a fraction of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions—12 percent to be exact. 

When this is factored in, if Diablo Canyon saves any emissions at all, it is statistically insignificant. This explains why the California Energy Commission has no position on whether the immediate closure of Diablo would have any effect on state greenhouse gas emissions at all.

Furthermore, the state has a minimum 15 percent to 18 percent energy reserve, according to the energy commission, which suggests no new energy sources are needed to replace Diablo Canyon.

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Furthermore, Diablo uses ocean water for cooling, a practice being phased out because it is devastating to ocean life, and Diablo is the largest such plant in the state, larger than all the rest combined.

Thus we have a dangerously situated, minimally insured nuclear power plant killing marine life to contribute a small amount of energy to a state with a large surplus, while competing for grid space with renewables.

The need for accurate, balanced information in considering our energy future is precisely why I support both the Mothers for Peace in calling for an early closure of Diablo Canyon in current PUC proceedings, and the current legal actions of the World Business Academy to require the State Lands Commission to complete an Environmental Impact Report before allowing continued operation of Diablo Canyon.

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