Environment & Science

Diablo Canyon, California's last nuclear plant, closing after 3 decades

File: Aerial view of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, California on March 17, 2011.  Some of America's nuclear power plants loom near big city populations, or perch perilously close to earthquake fault lines. Others have aged past their expiration dates but keep churning anyway. President Barack Obama has demanded that the 104 nuclear reactors at 65 sites get a second look as scientists warn that current regulatory standards don't protect the US public from the kind of atomic fallout facing quake-hit Japan.
File: Aerial view of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, California on March 17, 2011. Some of America's nuclear power plants loom near big city populations, or perch perilously close to earthquake fault lines. Others have aged past their expiration dates but keep churning anyway. President Barack Obama has demanded that the 104 nuclear reactors at 65 sites get a second look as scientists warn that current regulatory standards don't protect the US public from the kind of atomic fallout facing quake-hit Japan.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

California's last nuclear power plant will close by 2025 under an accord announced Tuesday, ending three decades of safety debates that helped fuel the national anti-nuclear power movement.

The state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and environmental groups announced the agreement on the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which sits along a Pacific Ocean bluff on California's central coast.

Environmentalists had pressed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for years to close Diablo, given its proximity to seismic faults in the earthquake-prone state.

Under the accord, PG&E has agreed not to seek relicensing for the plant, which supplies 9 percent of the state's power. The deal will replace the plant's production with solar and other forms of energy that don't emit climate-changing greenhouse gases.

"The important thing is that we ultimately got to a shared point of view about the most appropriate and responsible path forward with respect to Diablo Canyon, and how best to support the state's energy vision," the utility's leader, Tony Early, said in a statement.

The move ends a power source once predicted to be necessary to meet the growing energy needs of the nation's most populous state.

This story has been updated.