When Diablo Canyon is shut down, its electrical production will have to be replaced by another source of energy. It cannot be renewable resources, as the existing renewable resources are already accounted for in current production, so new renewable resources would have to be built to replace it, and resources like wind and solar are intermittent and cannot serve as 24/7 base power. The current drought has reduced hydroelectric production, and it is being replaced by “dirty” energy sources: natural gas and coal. These are the same sources that will replace Diablo Canyon’s production.
The net capacity of the two Diablo Canyon reactors is 2240 MW. Shutting it down will be the equivalent of putting 4 1/2 500 MW coal or natural gas plants on line, which is what is going to happen as they are the only feasible sources presently available. This will have a corresponding detrimental effect on the environment.
Say what you will about the accursed facility, during its existence Diablo Canyon has prevented many thousands of tons of CO2, particulates, and other greenhouse gases, as well as radioactive emissions from coal burning from being released into the atmosphere. I believe there is something to be said for that.
Finally, no matter what how you stand in the debate, one thing is for sure: The day that Diablo Canyon is shut down, coal and natural gas companies are going to be very happy. So go ahead … make their day.
-- Mark Henry - San Luis Obispo