Update on atomic power plants in California

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The state of California's regulatory body (CPUC) will be making its decision to close the two Diablo Canyon reactors on December 14th. The proposed decision by the judge that oversaw the year long review of the plan deferred Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s plan to buy a large amount of renewable energy for later hearings. But agreed that the facility should be closed with the potential for it closing sooner if information comes up that allows it to happen. Activists are unhappy with the 2024 closure date, and are concerned about the danger of earthquakes.

The state's other major facility, San Onofre that was closed in 2013 is now several years into a battle to keep the spent nuclear fuel from being stored along the coast line south of Los Angeles in poorly designed casks. Concerns that the fuel storage casks would likely fail in the case of an earthquake has won an agreement from the company that operated the reactors to store the waste elsewhere if possible. The agreement has angered most of the activists as it poorly thought out and could result in the waste going back to Yucca Mountain or other proposed spent fuel storage sites that are controversial at best. Protests have happened in the last few weeks.

In the meantime, the state continues to expand renewable energy development with a recent story saying we should reach 50% of its electricity being renewable by 2020. The push to produce storage solutions to the so-called solar intermittancy issue is being actively promoted with large amounts of research to bring down costs. A major concern among activists over the state's private electric monopolies push for large centralized solar at the expense of solar rooftop is a growing problem.



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