Sep 16, 2013

California's nuclear power is being replaced by natural gas

The state of California, once home to three major nuclear power plants, weathered an early July heat wave in good shape despite having only one operating reactor, Unit 2 at Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Unit 1 at Diablo Canyon was forced to shut down for about a week on June 27 after a minor leak was discovered in the residual heat removal system. The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station north of San Diego, out of service since early 2012, was officially retired earlier this summer by its owners.

Despite the lost capacity, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) only needed to ask customers in Northern California to conserve power during the heat wave. Reserve margins remained within safe territory.

The reason is in part the substantial amount of gas-fired capacity that has been added to the CAISO grid in the past few years. The newest plant to come online is NRG's 720-MW Marsh Landing Generating Station, near Antioch on the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. The four-unit simple cycle plant entered commercial operation on May 1, replacing the 1950s-era Contra Costa Power Plant on the same site. 

Large Scale Renewable Energy

a post debunks the idea that renewable energy is better positioned than nuclear energy to replace coal. It was written by Jessica Lovering who created a graduate course in nuclear energy, which she co-taught in the Spring of 2012 with a nuclear physics professor.

Nuclear provided America with about 180 times more energy than solar last year, and is one of our cheapest, safest baseload sources of zero-carbon energy.

Read more at NBF