California plans to end its use of nuclear power over the next decade under an agreement between the state's largest utility and environmental groups.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said that as part of the joint proposal, it would not seek to relicense the Diablo Canyon Power Plant — California's last nuclear plant — beyond its current certification in 2025 and will instead retire the facility.
The agreement, reached with local unions and four environmental advocacy groups, would also bolster investment in energy efficiency, renewable sources and power storage beyond current state mandates.
Utility officials said that state energy policies would reduce the need for output from Diablo's two reactors, which currently account for about 9 percent of California's power.
PG&E intends to replace Diablo Canyon's power without increasing greenhouse gas emissions. California plans to increase its renewable power threshold to 50 percent by 2030, and PG&E committed to a 55 percent standard by 2031.
Environmental advocates, meanwhile, long sought to close the plant over concerns about its proximity to nearby fault lines and its position on the Pacific Coast near San Luis Obispo.
"We came to this agreement with some different perspectives — and we continue to have some different perspectives — but the important thing is that we ultimately got to a shared point of view about the most appropriate and responsible path forward," PG&E Corp. CEO Tony Earley said in a statement.
The move, if approved by state utility officials, would mark the end of the nuclear power era in California after some seven decades. Diablo Canyon would be 40 years old at the time of its retirement.
Some environmental advocates broadly support nuclear power as a source of low-carbon energy. Although most of the country’s nuclear power infrastructure is aging, its first new reactor in 20 years recently began operations and four more are expected to be added within five years.