PG&E seeks 20-year license extension for Diablo Canyon Power Plant

Clean, affordable electricity needed to meet state’s growing energy demand, emissions reduction goals

November 24, 2009

San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Citing a critical need in California for the long-term supply of clean, affordable and reliable electricity, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced today that it will seek federal approval for license renewal to extend operation of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant for another 20 years past the current operating licenses.

Diablo Canyon's two units in San Luis Obispo produce approximately 18,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually – enough to power nearly 3 million California homes – with almost zero greenhouse gas emissions. Though Diablo Canyon's current federal operating licenses expire in 2024 and 2025 for units 1 and 2 respectively, the federal license extension review process is expected to take a few years.

At a news conference held today at the PG&E Community Center in San Luis Obispo, John Conway, PG&E senior vice president, energy supply and chief nuclear officer, called the license extensions "important for the environmental and economic health of California." He added, "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. Extending Diablo Canyon's ability to operate for another 20 years helps us do just that."

State law has established a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. However, according to the California Public Utilities Commission, the state's electricity consumption is expected to continue increasing by at least two percent each year. "Ensuring nuclear power continues playing a role in California's diverse energy portfolio is critical," said Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace who now co-chairs the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition.

Extending Diablo Canyon's operating licenses is the latest of the company's energy- and environmental-saving initiatives, including carbon offset programs, energy efficiency incentives and investment in renewable power sources.

The license extension process for nuclear power plants is managed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Throughout the multi-year process, the NRC conducts thousands of hours of thorough, top-to-bottom safety and environmental analyses and site audits, with ample opportunities for the public to comment on the application.

Reiterating that "safety is every employee's priority" at Diablo Canyon, Conway said the company looks forward to the NRC's evaluation. He said that facts will show that extending Diablo Canyon's licenses for another 20 years through 2044 and 2045 will help meet the state's future energy demands with affordable, baseload, clean electricity, while allowing time for newer technologies to more fully develop.

"Diablo Canyon has been an invaluable driver of the local and regional economy, supporting services and programs that benefit all residents, businesses and visitors in San Luis Obispo County," said Tom Bordonaro, Jr., San Luis Obispo County assessor. "This is about more than just Diablo Canyon; this is about ensuring we have the power to light our homes, operate our businesses, have a stable tax base to support essential government services and have head-of-household jobs."

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Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in northern and central California. For more information, visit