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Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. (Photo: Wikipedia)

PG&E To Submit Application For Federal Funds to Keep the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Operating Past 2025

Extension of plant would save state $21 billion in systems costs over 20 years

By Evan Symon, July 6, 2022 3:46 pm

Utility company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced on Tuesday that they will be submitting  an application to receive funds from a federal government program to remain open well past the current 2025 shut down date.

Ever since Diablo Canyon became the last active nuclear power station in California following the shut down of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in the early 2010’s, the plant has been targeted for closure by activists. In 2016 PG&E seemingly acquiesced to the environmental and labor groups, announcing that they would be closing the final plant in 2025. However, a major need for electricity has cropped up in California caused by, among other things, shutdowns of oil, gas, and coal plants, unreliable and intermittent renewable energy, as well as the rise of electric car usage and higher temperatures causing more usage.

As Diablo Canyon provides 9% of California’s total energy production, and is a clean source of energy, many have been fighting to keep the plant open. As a strain on the system has already been seen more and more, the loss of Diablo Canyon has been seen by many as a devastating blow to the state. A Stanford/MIT study released last year found that not only would an extension of Diablo Canyon’s life help California meet state climate goals, but it would serve as a bridge as renewable energy programs catch up to California’s needed energy amount. If operated to 2045, they also estimated that California would save $21 billion in systems costs.

While cost and environmental concerns have dogged extension efforts, especially with many opposed, saying that keeping it open would undercut California’s renewable energy commitments, support for the extension has grown exponentially in recent years. Lawmakers from both parties have agreed that  the extension is either needed or warranted, including Governor Gavin Newsom and U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

“While California boasts a very high portion of electricity from renewable sources, California will have to boost its total renewable energy production by an enormous 20 percent in just two years to replace the clean energy being produced at Diablo Canyon,” said a letter by scientists and academics in favor of keeping Diablo Canyon to Secretary Granholm last month.

With so much support for the extending the life of the plant, and a quickly dwarfing opposition, PG&E took advantage of a Department of Energy extension for submissions to receive federal funds from a Biden administration program aimed at keeping energy facilities slated for closure to remain open. If Diablo Canyon gets Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) funds, it would be highly likely that an extension would happen.

A possible life extension for Diablo Canyon

PG&E spokeswoman Suzanne Hosn said in a statement on Wednesday that “Given the revision and Newsom’s “request that we take steps to preserve Diablo as an option to promote grid reliability, we expect to submit an application for the Department of Energy funding.”

Many in favor of the 20-year extension are concerned about possible legal action from those groups that fought to end Diablo Canyon in 2016, but with federal support and lawmaker support from all levels of government, it could prove to be difficult to challenge.

“If PG&E and Diablo Canyon gets those funds, it might very well be game over for anyone hoping for a 2025 end date,” explained Sal Braith, a nuclear engineer who worked at several nuclear plants in the Northeast, in a Globe interview on Wednesday. “They can’t claim costs much anymore, not with the federal government chipping it. They can’t claim the environment in many regards due to it’s role in helping California meet the new state drives to get rid of fossil fuel energy production. Lawmakers, both Democrat and Republican, like it now, especially with it helping the state not face a huge energy shortfall. And more and more Californians like the idea of it too.”

“Honestly, I’d say maybe it’s time for a new plant built with lessons from previous plants, but that would have so many hurdles to it and might not even get off the ground. If we’re smart, we’ll get a twenty year extension, but at the same time, double down on clean energy investments to keep the environmentalists happy, as well as promote job growth in renewable energy programs, as that will keep the unions happy. It’s not that easy in practice, but it is something to shoot for. For California to get out of the hole it is in with energy, Diablo Canyon is a ladder. We say no to the extension, might as well continue to try to dig our way out going straight down.”

An extension application from PG&E for funds is due to the Department of Energy by September 6th.

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Evan Symon
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10 thoughts on “PG&E To Submit Application For Federal Funds to Keep the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Operating Past 2025

  1. In feb 22 PGE disbursed $60 million in dividends to shareholders
    it gave 50 million to the exiting COO
    It cried because it’s Wildfire fund was tanking because it’s stock was dropping
    It being investigated about it’s recent rates increases
    And now it wants tax payers money
    To grift another deal

  2. Welcome to “Commiefornia”. No coal power plants, no hydro generated electricity, need water for that and we are in a perpetual drought, no oil or fossil fuels, no Nuclear? How about letting the science denying climate change lunatics rely only on their wind and sun generated power and see how long they last with that. Rolling blackouts, water restrictions, city of Berkley eliminating natural gas permits on new construction, the rest of the state not far behind This is now the norm in this once great state. Nuclear Power is the cleanest most reliable and sensible power source available, do the right thing California and extend the Diablo Canyon Application instead of caving to the leftist lunacy!

  3. The property seems to be ideally located for power generation and distribution. In addition to extending the life of the plant, it is now time to start planning a larger, more advance power plant adjacent to the existing plant. The infrastructure is already there.

  4. Instead of wanting to spend 1B $ on music/arts in public schools on the Nov.ballot. spend it on desalination sea water plants.

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