In reversal, California governor wants to keep Diablo Canyon nuclear plant on the table.
- May 5, 2022 4:34 pm GMT
In maybe the most profound example of the changing attitudes around nuclear power in the U.S., California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently told the Los Angeles Times editorial board that he could support saving the state's Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant from decommissioning.
Pacific Gas and Electric agreed back in 2016 to exit the nuclear business and decommission the plant by 2025. The decision was supported by environmental activists, regulators and lawmakers. However, with the drought cutting into California's ability to produce hydropower, and rolling blackouts now an omnipresent threat, Newsom says having a firm, clean energy resource such as the Diablo Canyon plant, could be the "right and righteous" climate decision. The Diablo Canyon plant is California's largest single electricity source.
The timing of Newsom's comments is not random. The Biden Administration recently announced a $6 billion bailout plan to reduce nuclear power plants across the country at risk of closure due to economic pressures. The application deadline for the bailout funds is May 19, and Newsom said he would like to see the state at least apply for the money, and make a decision later.
The Diablo Canyon power plant does not necessarily meet the criteria of the "closing due to economic pressure," but as the largest single clean energy resource in the country's most populous state, don't be surprised if the Biden Administration bends the rules a bit for PG&E and California.
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