Engineering News Record: November 18, 2021, by Mary B. Powers
Scientists and engineers from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claim in a new report that delaying retirement of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., by a decade until 2035 would reduce carbon emissions from state utilities by more than 10% and save $2.6 billion in power costs.
With accelerating effects of climate change, issues facing California “compel a reassessment” of the closure plan, researchers say. The 2,240-MW two-unit plant, which began operating in the mid 1980s, can remain economic for the foreseeable future, they said.
Using it for desalination also could also increase fresh water in the state for a significantly lower cost than other methods, the academics said.
A settlement was approved in 2018 to permanently close the plant in 2025, before a California law required it to supply all power from zero-carbon sources and before an executive order directed the state to become climate neutral by 2045. Diablo Canyon, owned by utility PG&E, supplies 15% of California’s carbon-free electricity.