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PG&E Files Federal Relicensing Application to Extend Diablo Canyon
Pacific Gas & Electric is looking to extend the operations of the Diablo Canyon power plant. The company filed its federal relicensing application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on November 7, 2023. If granted, the license renewal would authorize continued operation for up to 20 years.
The 2,250 MW Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, near Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, is the largest power source in California and provides 8.6% of the state’s electricity, including approximately 17% of its zero-emissions electricity.
The plant was scheduled to be decommissioned when the current operating licenses for the plant’s two units expire in 2024 and 2025. However, concerns over anticipated power shortages during the state’s transition to renewable energy led to growing support for keeping it open. In September 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law S.B. 846, which extended the life of the nuclear power plant under state law by five years.
Federal license renewal reviews often take up to two years, and the power plant will be able to operate beyond the original 2025 decommission date during the application review process. In March 2023, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted Diablo Canyon an exemption from the requirements to submit a license renewal application as long as it submits a license renewal application by December 31, 2023.