The last nuclear plant in California – and the unexpected quest to save it

The Diablo Canyon facility, which provides 9% of the state’s energy, was due to shutter in 2025, but the state’s energy crunch could save it

California’s last nuclear plant was nearing the end of its life.

Tucked against picturesque bluffs along California’s central coast, the aging facility known as Diablo Canyon began operating in 1985. It was designed for a different era, with analog knobs and systems that no longer comply with the state’s environmental standards. The plant has faced controversies over its impact on underwater ecosystems, the production of toxic waste and its proximity to earthquake fault lines – and its planned closure by 2025 seemed an all-but-certain step in California’s ambitious journey toward a greener future.

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