Utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric announced Nov. 24 that it has applied to renew its operating license for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
PG&E chief nuclear officer John Conway did not reveal the price tag on the renewal process, but he said the renewal would cost millions of dollars, in accordance with California Public Utilities Commission regulations, which he did not detail.
The current license is set to expire in 2024 and 2025 for Units One and Two of the plant, respectively. The new license, should it be approved, would extend 20 years from those dates.
In the next step in the application process, according to PG&E Site Vice President Jim Becker, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will review PG&E’s application and make a decision on the further need for hearings.
“It’s fair to say this will be a multiyear process,” Becker said at a media conference.
San Luis Obispo County Assessor Tom Bordonaro, Jr., who also spoke at the meeting, told New Times that aside from providing electricity to more than three million Californians, the role Diablo plays in terms of contributing property tax revenue for the county is “huge.” He said one bill from Diablo provides the rough equivalent of 30,000 private properties.
The conference also included a statement from Patrick Moore, who was introduced as a “founding member” of Greenpeace, to respond to environmental concerns. Moore said although he and other environmentalists at one time opposed nuclear energy, he has had “time to reflect and realized that we made a serious error.”
Describing a “nuclear renaissance” currently sweeping across the globe, Moore said, “Nothing can take out fossil fuels one on one with base load power better than nuclear energy can.”
However, in a statement on Greenpeace’s website, the organization denies the claim that Moore has any further affiliation with them, saying he often “misrepresents himself as an environmental ‘expert.’”
David Weisman, outreach coordinator for the watchdog group the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, told New Times that with this announcement, PG&E is “unilaterally bypassing the state’s consumer ratepayer regulators and rushing this to the NRC where citizen participation is cumbersome and expensive.
“By ignoring the requests and requirements of our state’s regulatory agencies, PG&E has obviously decided they’re going rogue and seem to show no interest in our state ratepayers’ concerns,” he said.