Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said Nov. 24 that it will seek federal approval to keep its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant running until 2045.
The plant’s two reactors produce enough electricity to power about 3 million California homes each year, the company said in a release. The reactors’ current federal operating licenses are set to expire in 2024 and 2025.
The company is seeking a 20-year extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Company leaders said the move is aimed at providing carbon-free energy. California law requires that renewable energy sources make up one-third of utilities energy portfolios by 2020, though nuclear is not counted as a renewable energy source.
“As a company and as a state we must support every option for meeting California’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals while providing 24/7 reliability,” John Conway, PG&E senior vice president, energy supply and chief nuclear officer, said in a release. “Extending Diablo Canyon’s ability to operate for another 20 years helps us do just that.”
Diablo Canyon is one of only two nuclear power generation stations that operate in California. Under California law, no new nuclear power reactors can be built until the federal government finds a solution for nuclear waste.
Diablo Canyon’s two reactors produce about 2.2 megawatts of electricity and took nearly 15 years to build because of extensive studies of the plant’s ability to withstand earthquakes.