Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, located near San Luis Obispo on California's Central Coast, pulls in 2½ billion gallons of seawater every day, and then lets it out, 20 degrees warmer, back into the ocean. The system is known to cause marine damage, harming billions of fish larvae.
In 2010, California’s water board required all coastal power plants in the state to phase out this type of system, called once-through-cooling, bringing the state in line with part of the federal Clean Water Act. The State Water Resources Board held a hearing Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether PG&E should have to comply with that policy at Diablo Canyon.
The two nuclear power plants in operation on the California coast when the policy was adopted were given until 2015 to show how or if they could comply. San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has since ceased to operate. PG&E is arguing that the cost to phase out once-through-cooling at Diablo Canyon is too high.
"And due to the fact that Diablo Canyon is a significant contributor of clean energy to the state and is helping the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, it’s important that alternative compliance measures are considered," said Blair Jones, a spokesman for PG&E.