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Diablo Canyon Power Plant
Diable Canyon Power Plant
Diable Canyon Power Plant
Coordinates 35°12′39.10″N 120°51′22.23″W / 35.210861°N 120.856175°W / 35.210861; -120.856175Coordinates: 35°12′39.10″N 120°51′22.23″W / 35.210861°N 120.856175°W / 35.210861; -120.856175
Owner Pacific Gas & Electric
Operator Pacific Gas & Electric
Start of commercial operation Unit 1: May 7, 1985
Unit 2: March 13, 1986
Reactor supplier Westinghouse
Reactor type Pressurized water reactor
Reactors active 2 (2,240 MW)
Total power generation in 2007 18,588 GW·h
Status Operating
Other details
Architect Pacific Gas & Electric
License expires Unit 1: November 2, 2024
Unit 2: August 20, 2025
NRC region Region 4
As of 2008-11-25
Region Four
Palo Verde
Arkansas 1
Diablo Canyon
San Onofre
Wolf Creek
River Bend
Grand Gulf
Yellow Creek*
Fort Calhoun
Comanche Peak
South Texas

* unfinished

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant is an electricity-generating nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County, California. The plant has two Westinghouse-designed 4-Loop pressurized-water nuclear reactors operated by Pacific Gas & Electric. The facility is located on about 750 acres (3.0 km²) in Avila Beach, California. Together, the twin 1,100 megawatt reactors produce about 18,000 GW·h of electricity annually, supplying the electrical needs of more than 2.2 million people, sent along the Path 15 500-kV lines that connect to this plant.

Diablo Canyon is designed to withstand an earthquake of 7.5 on the Richter scale[1] from four faults, including the nearby San Andreas and Hosgri faults. Equipped with advanced seismic monitoring and safety systems, the plant is designed to shutdown safely in the event of significant ground motion.

The plant draws its secondary cooling water from the Pacific Ocean, and during heavy storms both units are throttled back by 80% to prevent kelp from entering the cooling water intake.




Unit One

Unit One is a 1,122 MWe pressurized water reactor supplied by Westinghouse. It went online on 7 May 1985 and is licensed to operate through 2 November 2024[2]. In 2006, Unit One generated 9,944,983 MW·h of electricity, at a nominal capacity factor of 101.2%.

Unit Two

Unit Two is a 1,118 MWe pressurized water reactor supplied by Westinghouse. It went online on 3 March 1986 and is licensed to operate through 20 August 2025[3]. In 2006, Unit Two generated 8,520,000 MW·h of electricity, at a capacity factor of 88.2%.

Protests and seismic safety

Diablo Canyon was built and entered service despite legal challenges and civil disobedience from the anti-nuclear protesters of the Abalone Alliance.[4] Over a two-week period in 1981, 1,900 activists were arrested at Diablo Canyon Power Plant. It was the largest arrest in the history of the U.S. anti-nuclear movement.[4]

Pacific Gas & Electric Company went through six years of hearings, referenda and litigation to have the Diablo Canyon plant approved. The chief concern about the plant was whether it was sufficiently earthquake-proof. The site was deemed safe when construction started in 1968. But by the time of the plant's completion in 1973, a seismic fault had been discovered two miles out to sea, a fault capable of generating a quake comparable to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The company responded to the resulting protests by improving the structural integrity of the building.[5]

Cooling intake event

Starting October 22, 2008, Unit 2 was taken offline for approximately two days due to a rapid influx of jellyfish at the intake.[6]

See also

In media

In The Simpsons, Homer Simpson references both Diablo Canyons 1 and 2 when checking his nuclear safety board for faulty nuclear plant lights across the U.S in the episode "Bart on the Road".


External links


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