PG&E to seek Calif. Diablo Canyon license renewal

NEW YORK Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:04pm EST

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NEW YORK Nov 24 (Reuters) - PG&E Corp (PCG.N) said Tuesday it would seek to renew the licenses of the 2,240-megawatt Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California for an additional 20 years.

The current 40-year operating licenses for Diablo Canyon's units expire in 2024 and 2025.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said it usually takes about 22 months to make a decision on a license extension without a hearing or about 30 months with a hearing.

Extending the licenses is "important for the environmental and economic health of California," John Conway, PG&E senior vice president, energy supply and chief nuclear officer, said in a release.

"As a company and as a state we must support every option for meeting California's ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals while providing 24/7 reliability. Extending Diablo Canyon's ability to operate for another 20 years helps us do just that," Conway said.

Even though California regulators expect demand for power to continue increasing by at least 2 percent each year, California law established a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Nuclear power provides more than 70 percent of the nation's carbon-free generation. The Diablo Canyon plant provides enough power for about 2 million California homes.

PG&E said extending Diablo Canyon's operating licenses was the latest of the company's energy- and environment-saving initiatives, including carbon offset programs, energy efficiency incentives and investment in renewable power sources.

The Diablo Canyon station is located in Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County about 195 miles (310 km) northwest of Los Angeles. The station has two units, the 1,122-MW Unit 1 and the 1,118-MW Unit 2, which entered service in 1985 and 1986. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Jim Marshall) ((scott.disavino@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6072; Reuters Messaging: scott.disavino.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((For help: Click "Contact Us" in your desk top, click here [HELP] or call 1-800-738-8377 for Reuters Products and +1-888-463-3383 for Thomson products; For client training: training.americas@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646-223-5546))

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