Pacific Gas and Electric Company wants to renew its operating license at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant through 2045, the Chron reports. The utility’s twin reactors near San Luis Obispo generate about 20 percent of the electricity used by its customers.
PG&E is a big proponent of nuclear power because it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases. Some backers of nuclear power are attempting to convince Congress to include nuclear power as “clean energy” under a proposed cap-and-trade system. If PG&E were allowed to count nuclear power as a greenhouse gas credit, the utility would easily make the state’s ambitious climate change goals. PG&E likes to refer to hydropower as “clean energy” as well.
Many environmentalists, however, remain skeptical of nuclear power because of the many problems associated with disposing nuclear waste. In addition, PG&E’s Diablo Canyon facility causes problems because it uses large amounts of sea water for cooling, a process that is deadly for fish. As for hydropower, it destroys rivers and wildlife habitats.