Diablo Canyon reactor shut down for maintenance

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near Avila Beach.
Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near Avila Beach. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Operators at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant announced Monday that the Unit 1 reactor was shut down to begin a refueling and maintenance outage.

With each outage, plant owner PG&E brings in approximately 1,000 highly-skilled, temporary workers to assist the plant’s 1,500 full-time employees. The workers will replace about a third of the fuel in the reactor and perform upgrades, inspections and replacements that can only be completed while the reactor is shut down.

More than 165,000 person-hours will be invested in this refueling and maintenance outage, said Ed Halpin, PG&E chief nuclear officer. Additionally, PG&E will complete safety enhancements ordered after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

All of this activity will bring additional economic activity to San Luis Obispo through the dozens of vendors and hundreds of additional contract workers — some of whom are coming to the area from as far away as Pennsylvania — who will spend their money locally on a variety of goods and services.

Each of Diablo Canyon’s two reactor units are refueled approximately every 18 months. Unit 2 will continue to generate electricity while Unit 1 is offline.