By Tim Pearce
California regulators voted unanimously Thursday to shutter the state’s last nuclear power plant by 2025.
The Diablo Canyon nuclear facility is scheduled for an incremental shutdown, phasing out Unit One in 2024 and Unit Two in 2025. The plant produces about 18,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power 1.7 million homes and nearly 10 percent of California’s energy mix.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to close the nuclear plant as the federal licenses for each unit expire, and move the state toward 100 percent renewable energy.
“With this decision, we chart a new energy future by phasing out nuclear power here in California,” CPUC President Michael Picker said, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. “We’ve looked hard at all the arguments, and we agree the time has come.”
Expecting to close the plants when the federal leases ran out, the PGEC had brought together environmental groups and local officials in 2016 to construct a plan for the CPUC to review and approve. The PGEC plan requested $85 million in mitigation funding for communities reliant on nuclear power and $363.4 million for PGEC staff retention and retraining.
The plan passed by the CPUC gave PGEC a reduced $222.6 million and did not include any of the community mitigation money, most of which was for cities and school districts. The commission said the mitigation money was best awarded through the legislature, not forced onto ratepayers.
“We’re disappointed. The County worked with a broad community and business coalition to develop a program that would help us protect local public health, safety and economic stability,” County Administrative Officer Wade Horton said in a press release sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Local officials are now exploring avenues to secure the mitigation funding through the California legislature, Assistant County Administrative Officer Guy Savage told TheDCNF.
Diablo Canyon employs 1,500 workers as the county’s fourth largest employer. It adds about $1 billion into the local economy annually.
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