Adiós Diablo Canyon
California’s last nuclear power reactors to shutter by 2025

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced the closure of California’s last online nuclear power electrical generating plant today in an agreement that was met with jubilation by anti-nuclear environmentalists.

“Each of Diablo Canyon’s nuclear reactors contains 1,000 times the radioactivity of the Hiroshima bomb,” said Robert Dodge MD, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA). “There are four nearby earthquake faults capable of causing ground motion far greater that than the plant was designed to withstand – a disaster waiting to happen. The closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, along with plans to transition to renewable energy, is a victory for public health.”

The historic achievement means that the PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant on the Pacific Coast in San Luis Obispo County will stop supplying its nine percent of California’s energy consumption when its license expires in 2025. In the process, PG&E has avoided what promised to be a long and hard-fought battle over any extension of its license due to new information about major earthquake faults near the plant, including one less than a half mile offshore.

“California’s energy landscape is changing dramatically with energy efficiency, renewables and storage being central to the state’s energy policy,” said PG&E Corporation Chairman, CEO and President Tony Earley in a statement today. “As we make this transition, Diablo Canyon’s full output will no longer be required. As a result, we will not seek to relicense the facility beyond 2025 pending approval of the joint energy proposal.”

Reaction from around California was nearly unanimous in celebrating the decision to say goodbye to nuclear energy.

“In 2011, I learned that the seismic risk at Diablo Canyon was much more dangerous than we thought, so I applaud PG&E’s decision to cease operations at Diablo Canyon after its license expires in 2025, and I appreciate that Friends of the Earth will remain focused on the safety issues while the plant is still operating,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said in a statement sent to “The news that nuclear power will be replaced by renewables is heartening.”

Now comes the hard part. “Once shuttered, the plant will still have to wrestle with storage for the highly toxic and long lived spent fuel generated by its operation,” PSR-LA warned in its statement. “Spent fuel is more than 10 times more radioactive than the core of the reactor and presents ongoing safety and security concerns.”

Diablo Canyon’s security concerns are less acute than those at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) about 250 miles to the south bordering the coastal city of San Clemente. The last reactor there shut three years ago but is becoming an even more acute potential terrorist target than it was when‘s 2013 exposé Black Swan SONGS was published, due to plans to place spent nuclear fuel in thin-skinned metal containers in direct site of Pacific waters. Terrorists with speed boats and rocket launchers could destroy a huge part of Southern California with a successful strike in the future as we reported before even the advent of sworn American enemies ISIS.

Even with a three years head start on decommissioning, SONGS shutdown activists and local politicians appear to have disregarded this information in the attempt to have all of San Onofre’s spent nuclear fuel rods removed from the site to a high-level nuclear waste dump. The problem, of course, is that such a dump does not exist in the United States.

Diablo Canyon’s uniquely remote location precludes many of the dangers of decommissioning SONGS faces. With careful consideration of spent fuel placement, use of more robust metal containers and proactive vigilance on the part of PG&E, California political leaders and anti-nuclear activists can ensure that this fate doesn’t befall Diablo Canyon.


  1. Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant – Retirement

    “The CPUC authorized PG&E to recover in rates $241.2 million in costs associated with retiring the plant: $211.3 million to retain PG&E employees until the power plant is scheduled to close; $11.3 million for retraining of workers; and $18.6 million for Diablo Canyon license renewal expenses incurred by PG&E.”

    “…the plant is no longer economic, and the owner, PG&E, has asked to close it down,” said CPUC President Michael Picker

    “Officials said CPUC denied PG&E’s request for $85 million for a Community Impact Mitigation Program (CIMP) in the absence of express legislative authorization, although PG&E may choose to use shareholder funds to support the CIMP.”

    ABC News – Thursday, January 11, 2018 11:19AM

    11.3 million for retraining..??? wt*
    Nuclear Power is a scam, even when it’s shutdown.

  2. Daniel Hirsch Reveals How NRC, PGE Covered Up, Denied Earthquake Faults Near Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant, Larger Than NRC License Allows, Beyond Building Design Limit

  3. What happens when Diablo Canyon is found to be without an emergency core cooling system that is inoperable for over a year? Not much. This was sent today to by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. To the NRC’s credit, this incident ranked higher than a green ‘no problem’ designation but demonstrates that despite the future shutdown of these poorly situated nuclear reactors they are still online and can melt down especially when the reactor operator sees fit to have one of its reactors operating with a backup core cooling system working.


    NRC Issues White Finding to Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a white finding of low to moderate safety significance to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for failing to adequately maintain the emergency core cooling system at the plant in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

    Each reactor at Diablo Canyon is equipped with two emergency core cooling systems that are used to provide cooling water to a reactor under certain accident conditions. During a scheduled test conducted in May, workers discovered that a maintenance problem had rendered one of the Unit 2 emergency core cooling systems inoperable for an extended period of time, beginning as early as October 2014.

    A second emergency core cooling system was available if needed. The licensee has corrected the condition and changes have been made to maintenance procedures to prevent recurrence. The issue is described in an NRC inspection report. NRC staff held a regulatory conference with representatives from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on Nov. 15, in Arlington, Texas, to discuss the issue.

    The NRC evaluates regulatory performance at commercial nuclear plants with a color-coded process that categorizes inspection findings as green, white, yellow or red in order of increasing safety significance. The NRC has determined that this inspection finding has low to moderate (white) safety significance. The NRC will conduct an inspection to verify the licensee’s corrective actions have been properly implemented.

  4. @Ben Ng & Rogerio – I agree entirely and will add that the enviros actually got outplayed by PG&E. They’re running their hot boxes next to faults for then next 9 (NINE) YEARS instead of shutting them down NOW. Friends of the Earth and Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility blew this big time and should be ashamed (which of course they’re not). The only thing good you can say about Diablo is it isn’t San Onofre (which is in acute danger for no reason – this website showed how to toughen security and safety but to no avail like said here). Glad to see Ben and Rogerio aren’t fooled by this hollow victory.

  5. I like how all of these reactors are in canyons or alongside the sea. It makes meltdowns so much more entertaining — just check out how Fukushima’s turning the entire Pacific into a warm bathtub.

    I just read that the NRC is planning to have 50 gigawatts of nukes running by 2050. Oh, joy! None of that “conserve our way out of the problem” for the good ol’ USA! Let’s just have more insanely toxic generating plants instead!!

  6. Rogerio Gonzalez

    I guess we’re supposed to keep our fingers crossed for the next 9 years hoping no big quakes and no meltdowns. Thanks PG&E.

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