Commission Delays Decision on Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today delayed a vote on an historic proposal to retire and replace the state’s last nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, with lower-cost, pollution-free alternatives led by energy efficiency, solar, and wind power.

There was no indication when the item would return to the agenda, or if the CPUC will offer an alternative proposal for retirement of the plant near San Luis Obispo, 250 miles south of San Francisco.

The delay comes just two weeks after a CPUC hearing where representatives of the plant’s workers, communities, environmentalists, and owner Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) urged the commission to approve the Joint Proposal announced in June 2016 to close California’s last nuclear plant by August 2025 and reject an administrative law judge’s recent contention that much of it should be disregarded.

Following is a statement from Ralph Cavanagh, energy program co-director at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“The delay will give the full commission more time to closely study this important issue. The commission’s ultimate decision will affect Californians for years to come. It’s essential that we get this right for the sake of California’s clean energy future, PG&E customers, plant employees, and the communities surrounding the aging and uneconomical plant.”

The administrative law judge’s recommendation (1) fails to ensure that Diablo Canyon will be fully replaced with zero-carbon resources; (2) makes no specific provision for replacing any part of its output with zero-carbon resources; and (3) disallows most of the Joint Proposal’s recommended retention payments to plant workers and their communities (cutting $277 million out of a seven-year total of $448 million), which are crucial to ensuring the plant’s safe and reliable operation.

The most recent NRDC blogs on the topic can be found here:

California Regulators Weigh Historic Diablo Canyon Decision by Ralph Cavanagh

Climate Protection Missing from Diablo Canyon Draft Decision by Peter Miller


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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