PG&E sends request to NRC to extend life of Diablo Canyon

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

PG&E filed a request with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Monday to extend its operating licenses for the reactors at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The operating licenses for the two reactors at Diablo Canyon are set to expire in 2024 and 2025. PG&E had been planning on shutting down the nuclear power plant at the conclusion of those terms, but the utility has since received backing from both federal and state officials for extending the operating life of Diablo Canyon.

At the end of August and beginning of September, California lawmakers passed a bill calling to extend the operating life of Diablo Canyon by five years, pushing back its closure from 2025 to 2030. Introduced by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and co-authored by Central Coast Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, a Republican, Senate Bill 864 calls for the state of California to lend PG&E up to $1.4 billion to facilitate the extension of Diablo Canyon’s operating period.

PG&E needs to obtain license renewals from the NRC, as well as regulatory approval from other federal and state agencies in order to keep operating the plant past 2025. The request PG&E submitted on Monday marks the first step toward renewing its operating licenses.

“We are proud of the role Diablo Canyon plays in providing safe, reliable, low-cost and carbon-free energy to our customers and Californians,” Paula Gerfen, PG&E’s Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, said in a statement. “This request to renew our licenses is another step to help California reliably achieve its bold decarbonization goals. We will help deliver on those goals while continuing to run one of the top performing plants in the country.”