Dealing With The Devil No Longer: Northern California To Shut Down Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, Go Completely Zero-Carbon
As consumers grow more and more restless at the notion of powering their homes through wasteful and even dangerous means, the ripples are starting to spread even to utility companies. Especially in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear power plant disaster five years ago, more and more people are seeking to power their homes by truly sustainable means.
To that end, the news that one of California’s largest energy utilities is making a pre-emptive move to push the state and the nation forward in the 21st century electricity revolution by agreeing to close its last operating nuclear plant and in order to produce more solar, wind and other clean power technologies in its place is welcome news indeed.
Pacific Gas & Electric Company has announced that will shutter its troubled Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant within the next decade. What’s more, the energy giant has crafted a partnership with environmental groups like Friends of the Earth in which the company will work with the group’s representatives to bring California’s energy generation closer to a goal of 50 percent by 2030.
Winding down operations at the company’s flagship nuclear power plant will certainly close a chapter in its history as one of California’s biggest power providers. But the company is hopeful that by burnishing its environmental bona fides, it can open a new chapter going forward, one that is more in keeping with California’s record as an environmental leader.
“California is already a leader in curtailing greenhouse gases,” said former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Peter Bradford in a Los Angeles Times story. “Now they’re saying they can go even further. That’s potentially a model for other situations.”
The plan includes the company agreeing to let its current U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission license expire with asking for a renewal in 2024, replacing the power produced by the plant with investment in greenhouse-gas-free renewable sources.
The plant, which produces power for 1.7 million homes, has long been a source of contention, as it sits on a cliff atop several earthquake fault lines.
So perhaps the hard lessons provided by Fukushima can be said to not have gone totally unlearned. Here’s hoping that more and more plants and municipalities around the world take the next lesson, the one given to us by the operators of the Diablo Canyon plant to heart and work toward divesting their portfolios of dirty, dangerous energy sources and moving toward 100 percent sustainability.