As reported by David R. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has gotten cold feet about its 2009 application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a 20-year license extension at its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
Diablo is encircled by earthquake fault lines. PG&E is still reeling from a natural gas pipeline explosion in 2010, which killed nine residents in San Bruno, CA. PG&E has focused on repairing its image after the fatal explosion, not on re-licensing Diablo.
'We've got a lot on our plates, and we just don't need to take on another big public issue right now,' said Tony Earley, PG&E Corp.'s CEO."
(Earley was CEO at Detroit Edison until 2011. He left that utility amidst its application to build a new reactor, Fermi 3, in southeast MI. Beyond Nuclear and environmental coalition allies have been fighting the Fermi 3 proposal since 2008.)
Especially in light of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, and its ongoing radioactivity releases into the Pacific Ocean, PG&E can expect a fight, if it attempts to extend Diablo's operating licenses, from groups such as San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Friends of the Earth, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, and others.
The article quotes a long time watchdog:
“It should be illegal,” said Linda Seeley, 71, a retired midwife who in the 1980s was arrested twice during mass demonstrations at Diablo’s gates. “They’re playing with fire, and the people who will get burned are the people who live here.”
The article highlights the role Diablo's lack of cooling towers, and consequent massive impact on aquatic life, will play in the license extension fight to come. Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter and Linda Gunter have reported on such impacts at Diablo in their report, Licensed to Kill.
With the closure of San Onofre 2 & 3 in southern CA in 2013, and the previous closures of CA's other atomic reactors, Diablo represents "nuclear power's last stand in California."