Ben Davis Jr.’s recent Viewpoint, “Why wait until 2025 to close Diablo Canyon?” misses crucial points.
My organization joined PG&E, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and others in a “joint proposal” to retire Diablo Canyon by 2025 and replace it with zero-carbon energy. We disagree with Mr. Davis’ view that the plant is “statistically insignificant” in its potential impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The retirement schedule is critical for ensuring that we can affordably replace California’s largest power plant without increasing GHG emissions by literally millions of tons annually.
We don’t want a repetition of the unplanned shutdown of the giant San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California, where the initial replacement power came mostly from natural gas generation, accompanied by significant penalties in the form of local air quality impairment in addition to GHG emissions. The same result would be inevitable if, as Mr. Davis suggests, Diablo Canyon is replaced without adding new energy resources.
The joint proposal will also provide PG&E employees and local communities with the time needed to avoid painful and inequitable disruptions. Responsibly retiring and replacing Diablo Canyon is in all our interests.
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Ralph Cavanagh, Natural Resources Defense Council