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Power Government United States

California Will Close Its Last Nuclear Power Plant (sfchronicle.com) 368

An anonymous reader quotes the San Francisco Chronicle: California's last nuclear power plant -- Diablo Canyon, whose contentious birth helped shape the modern environmental movement -- will close in 2025, state utility regulators decided Thursday. The unanimous vote by the California Public Utilities Commission will likely bring an end to nuclear energy's long history in the state. State law forbids building more nuclear plants in California until the federal government creates a long-term solution for dealing with their waste, a goal that remains elusive despite decades of effort.

The decision comes even as California expands its fight against global warming. Owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Diablo Canyon is the state's largest power plant, supplying 9 percent of California's electricity while producing no greenhouse gases. "With this decision, we chart a new energy future by phasing out nuclear power here in California," said commission President Michael Picker. "We've looked hard at all the arguments, and we agree the time has come."

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California Will Close Its Last Nuclear Power Plant

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  • YAY for coal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Sunday January 14, 2018 @11:12PM (#55929489)

    Do we have any rails coming in from West Virginia?

    • Re:YAY for coal? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 14, 2018 @11:51PM (#55929657)

      California does not have any coal fired power plants.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • Yet
        • Re:YAY for coal? (Score:5, Informative)

          by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday January 15, 2018 @12:13AM (#55929745)

          No new coal plants are under construction or planned anywhere in America.

          California energy will come from gas, wind, and solar, with a tiny contribution from geothermal.

          • Re:YAY for coal? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2018 @07:32AM (#55930819)

            Actually, California energy will come from Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon.

            "The problems always easier to solve when it's given to someone else."

          • Re:YAY for coal? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2018 @08:15AM (#55930991)

            No new coal plants are under construction or planned anywhere in America.

            California energy will come from gas, wind, and solar, with a tiny contribution from geothermal.

            Ah, so they have seven short years to figure out how they're going to generate 9% of California's electrical demand from gas, wind, and solar, while also dealing with growth and more demand between now and 2025?

            Yeah, good luck with that shit. This touchy-feely story is about as realistic as California balancing their budget. That power plant will get shut down alright; when it melts down.

            • dealing with growth and more demand between now and 2025?

              Population growth in California is slowing, and electricity demand per household is falling.

          • Re:YAY for coal? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday January 15, 2018 @09:59AM (#55931433)

            No new coal plants are under construction or planned anywhere in America.

            California energy will come from gas, wind, and solar, with a tiny contribution from geothermal.

            Heresy! Slahshdotters shall not let this go unpunished!

            For all of the bloviating about coal from it's fans and the Present Occupant, the supplies are running low, and much of what is left isn't very good. And getting to it can be pretty daunting, Spending money and effort to revive an industry that is just about played out makes no sense.

            Meanwhile here in PA, we're enjoying our wind power and natgas. I suspect the day will come when the natgas stations will serve as backup.

  • Morons (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Sunday January 14, 2018 @11:13PM (#55929493)

    California is run by morons.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by plopez ( 54068 )

      Is that why it is the 6th largest economy in the world? I'll hang with the morons thank you very much.

      • by uncqual ( 836337 )

        Per capita measures are more meaningful as California has the highest population in the country.

        Per capita, the GDP [wikipedia.org] of California is 10th or 11th in the nation (depending on if you count DC as a "state").

      • You don't actually know WHY California is so successful, do you?

        If you did, you'd know why it is run by morons, and why the results are what they are.

    • Not really (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday January 14, 2018 @11:29PM (#55929561)
      Natural Gas is still a lot safer and solar is cheaper. That probably wouldn't be true if American's political climate wasn't so crazy. The mad rush to privatize things that shouldn't be privatized coupled with our bad habit of looking the other way on regulation means nuclear power is risky. Government run enterprises tend to be very, very efficient unless they're being run as pork. e.g. the DMV and Post Office both do amazing things (as long as you don't live in the South, where the DMV massively underfunded). That means there really isn't much profit to be had privatizing it without cutting corners on safety and, well, look at Fukushima. A completely preventable disaster that nearly destroyed a city...

      And don't forget that we can't recycle the fuel because we're terrified some of it will get lost and turned into nukes. Not that it's ever stopped anyone from getting them (re: North Korea).

      TLDR; Get Americans to stop privatizing dangerous things and allow the waste to be recycled and we'll put nuclear back in rotation.
      • Re:Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

        by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Monday January 15, 2018 @01:23AM (#55929995) Journal

        Natural Gas is still a lot safer

        Natural gas plants leak methane like a motherfucker. And methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. After a few decades it decomposes into water and... CO2, but in the meantime it helps wrecking havoc of climate.

        I much prefer nuclear power to natural gas. It's safer for the planet.

        • > Save the planet

          I will participate in discussions on renewable energy as soon as the phrases like that will stop being modded up.

          • Why? Is it not true that it isn't much safer for the environment? Even if you take the spent fuel and just throw it out in the garden the result is a very localised form of pollution that does not spread anywhere compared to CO2 emissions from power plants that are showing global effect on the planet.

            Even when you consider accidents it is remarkably safe. Not only has nuclear power killed the lowest number of people of any of the generation methods (count how many people die constructing solar power for a f

        • before that's a problem. Meanwhile if a nuke plant goes bad I'll live many, many years in poverty as I'm forced to leave my now irradiated property behind until I eventually die of cancer in my 40s (maybe mid 50s if I'm lucky).

          That's the trouble with nuke plants. The disasters are acute. Meaning all the damage is up front. The annoying thing is that if we were rational beings nuclear would be the perfect energy source.
      • Nuclear fuel recycling for traditional reactors is only useful for two things, getting plutonium and wasting money. Significantly reducing waste, not so much.

        It's a once through process, the remaining waste from burning MOX is just too much of a mess ... even wasting money has a limit.

      • Natural Gas is still a lot safer and solar is cheaper.

        Do you have citations for that? I did a quick Google search and nuclear power is the safest, by far. I also saw that solar is the cheapest source of energy with the caveat that it applies in only 60 nations, and the USA is not one of them. I'm sure it's nice in Egypt to have access to cheap solar energy but I don't live in Egypt. What are cheap energy sources in the USA? Looks like wind, natural gas, and nuclear. Prices vary across the USA but for most places one of those three will have the lowest co

        • I think it depends on where you are in the USA as to whether solar makes economic sense. It works better to break those things down on a state-by-state level, given how geographically diverse the USA is. A number of states have vast tracts of desert country in which sizeable populations live. It would be hard to imagine why solar wouldn't be very practical in a typically sunny environment, as it corresponds with peak usage during the day to run all those air conditioners.

      • The mad rush to privatize things that shouldn't be privatized coupled with our bad habit of looking the other way on regulation means nuclear power is risky.

        Risky as an investment, which is what killed/is killing it.

        If it were a bit simpler to implement and the fuel going in did not require some much processing, then Nuclear might be an ongoing option. As it is, solar is cheaper, and the inclusion of a few major hydro storage sites means a significant risk for investing in traditional, big centralised infrastructural approaches to providing power. There's a good chance that these will be a losing proposition. You might make operational money for the first

      • The USA is letting nuclear waste rot in substandard containers at nearly every nuclear reactor in the country, and most locations are succeptible to flooding. Because of the insanity around transporting and long term storing of the waste it's stored in a manner tens of thousands of times more dangerous. Recycling the fuel seems like a long way off when there is so much argument the waste can't even be stored properly.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Sunday January 14, 2018 @11:15PM (#55929501)

    No way are they going to be able to replace all of the energy lost from that plant from renewables. It's going to come from some other state, spewing coal and sulfur... or possibly they simply will increase the brownouts, but it's OK because all of the large cash cows have learned to have their own generation facilities for anything important.

    Nuclear energy is the cheapest form above all the others, it's a shame to see the world fold this away even as they scream the Earth needs saving. You were saving it friend, and now you are letting it go.

    • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Sunday January 14, 2018 @11:16PM (#55929509) Journal

      You sure about that? Germany's economy is larger than CA but using renewables they have more energy than they can use.

      • Germany's economy is larger than CA but using renewables they have more energy than they can use.

        Nope.

        During brief times of year, that MAY be true, as with the headline you are thinking of where German power pricing was negative on Christmas day in December [businessinsider.com].

        However most of the time Germans are importing power because they shut down all nuclear plants - they are currently producing about 35% of their power from renewables [cleanenergywire.org]

        But all that importing and expensive renewable power facilities means that Germans pay s [ovoenergy.com]

        • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Monday January 15, 2018 @12:17AM (#55929761) Journal

          The numbeds for power prices are wrong.
          I doubt anyone pays more than 25cents, on a remote north sea island, perhaps.
          I pay 18 cents, and could drop that perhaps to 18 or 14 if I was not to lazy to switch provider.
          The average is hardly above 22 cents.

          kW/h prices are hardly relevant anyway, relevant is the total amount you pay per month or the percentage of your income.
          And in that regard Germany is quite low. I pay 100Euro a month for electricity AND natural gas.

      • 2 Faults... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Diablo Canyon Power Plant is in San Luis Obispo County, on the beach, and near two different faults. Given recent seismic events in California they may just be deciding it is past time the plants are removed as a major ecological hazard in the event of seismic activities or a Fukushima Daiichi grade Tsunami.

        Given that the plants are almost 50 years old and pressurized water reactors, it seems like there are a half dozen individual reasons worthy of shutting it down, and legislators have thankfully chosen to

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

        You sure about that? Germany's economy is larger than CA but using renewables they have more energy than they can use.

        Great example. Germany's renewable energy generation capabilities stands at 33%. Last Saturday it produced precisely 0% of Germany's consumption with import running full steam from France for some of that wonderful nuclear goodness. They have had more energy than they could use precisely 2 days last year, and then only because their energy mix is so heavily geared towards base load and intermittent load with few peaking plants in between.

        And they get all that for the privilege of paying some of the highest

      • >they have more energy than they can use.

        Is it expensive to add automatic load control to electric stations that reduce production?

        For example, covers for electric batteries, blocking the wind turbines from rotating, blocking water turbines from rotating, stopping throwing coal into the furnace.

        Serious question.

  • by kwerle ( 39371 ) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Monday January 15, 2018 @12:16AM (#55929757) Homepage Journal

    Diablo canyon is down the road.

    I've got nothing against nuclear. I toured the plant last year or the year before. Super impressive.

    Anyway, it's my understanding that Diablo Canyon isn't being shut down by regulators so much as PG&E can't make a profit from it. Solar and Gas are too cheap for [heavily regulated] nuclear to be profitable.

    Here's the story from 18 months ago:
    http://beta.latimes.com/busine... [latimes.com]

    News?

    • So, CA outsourced its base-load. I truly hope the surrounding states ass-rapes Cali to the point where the solve the issues themselves that match their green initiative rhetoric. Maybe they can hire Elon to pitch the whole Powerwall thing. But in all seriousness, how can state full of high technology innovators not be leading the rest of the world on energy? Probably because all they're good at is VC and selling ideas?

  • No problem (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday January 15, 2018 @12:23AM (#55929795)

    California can just outlaw air conditioning.

    • California can just outlaw air conditioning.

      California could just have their law makers tarred and feathered too. But neither will realistically happen, likely because the former will result in the latter.

  • California, being the most populous state, has some not insignificant energy needs. How are they going to make this happen? It seems like California is good at just kicking problems further into the future without actually addressing them presently.
  • Oh, Diablo Canyon 2, why can't you be more like Diablo Canyon 1!

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