PG&E has applied to renew operating licenses for Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

As expected, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. officials formally announced today that they have applied to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew the operating licenses for Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s two reactors.

Site Vice President Jim Becker said he signed the application to the agency on Monday. If approved, the operating licenses of the reactors will be extended by 20 years each, making them expire in 2044 and 2045.

The length of the license renewal process varies from two to four years and involves numerous reviews by the NRC to determine if the reactors can continue to operate safely for that period of time. Although no exact number was given, the renewal process is expected to cost millions of ratepayer dollars, said John Conway, PG&E’s chief nuclear officer.

The press conference announcing the renewal application featured a panel of speakers who talked about the importance of the plant to the county economy and the role nuclear power plays in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.