AVILA BEACH – Operators at PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant safely took Unit 1 offline on Sunday (Feb. 9) as part of a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.
During the planned outage full-time and contract workers will replace a portion of the reactor fuel, perform maintenance and test plant systems and components that are not readily accessible during normal plant operations.
The last refueling and maintenance outage at the facility occurred for Unit 2 during February and March of 2013. That outage was among the safest and most successful in the plant’s history as 30 projects were completed in addition to standard maintenance. In all, workers conducted about 1 million hours of inspections, maintenance and equipment upgrades.
“Diablo Canyon is a vital energy resource for California and a significant economic engine for the Central Coast,” said Ed Halpin, PG&E’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “The work we are performing in the weeks ahead supports our strong commitment to operate the facility in a safe and efficient manner, and ensures the continued delivery of clean, zero-emissions electricity to our customers.”
Planned refueling outages at Diablo Canyon can bring almost 1,000 temporary workers to the Central Coast where they spend money on local housing, dining and shopping. According to Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Peter Candela, these workers are good for business and are often counted on to keep local coffers healthy.
“Diablo Canyon is a major economic contributor to our region, helping local businesses thrive,” Candela said. “According to the Chamber’s estimates, that impact is only enhanced during planned outages with visiting workers and their families spending about $5 million alone in the greater Pismo Beach area. We appreciate the time they spend in our region and hope they enjoy their stay.”
(Click here to see a Currents video on the economic benefit of a refueling outage at Diablo Canyon.)
In a typical year, at least one of Diablo Canyon’s two reactor units undergo a planned refueling and maintenance outage. However, once every five years both units are refueled in the same year due to their separate operating schedules. Such an occurrence will take place in 2014 when Unit 2 is refueled this fall.
Diablo Canyon Unit 2 is currently operating at full power after a brief outage last week to repair equipment on the non-nuclear side of the plant.
Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s two units together produce approximately 2,300 net megawatts of carbon-free power. It provides nearly 10 percent of all electricity generated in California, and enough energy to meet the needs of more than 3 million Northern and Central Californians. Diablo Canyon has a $920 million annual local economic impact and is the largest private employer in San Luis Obispo County.