As the state face potential power shortages due to high demand from the grid, California lawmakers approved on Thursday a legislative measure to extend the lifeline of the 2,240-MW Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant for another five years.
Previously set to fully close in August 2025, the state’s two last atomic reactors will remain open for another half-decade in part by giving the plant’s owner, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), a US$1.4 billion forgivable loan.
The fate of the state’s nuclear facility has been on the fence amid arguments for clean energy sources colliding with safety and nuclear waste disposal concerns. Advocates for extending Diablo Canyon’s lifeline argue that the state’s 100% clean electricity goal by 2045 would be challenging to achieve without the nuclear plant. The state gets roughly 9% of its total energy and 15% of its clean energy production from nuclear.
“The 2,240 MW capacity [of Diablo Canyon] would also decrease the need for 14.4 GW of new wind, solar and battery storage capacity, saving US$20.9 billion in overnight capital costs, reducing California’s reliance on neighboring imports and decreasing wholesale electricity prices by 5%-8%,” according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The agency also reported that keeping Diablo Canyon online “lowers [carbon] emissions by 10% through 2030” in keeping with California’s zero-emission goal in the next two decades.
“Maintaining operations at Diablo Canyon will keep our power on while preventing millions of tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere,” said Save Clean Energy’s Isabelle Boemeke. “This is a true win-win for the people of California and our planet.”
However, the question of safety of maintaining the nuclear facility still looms over the bill as the Diablo Canyon sits near seismic fault lines. The US currently having no permanent storage site for nuclear waste adds a predicament to the nuclear energy production.
“The bill ignores the plant’s environmental impacts and vulnerability to earthquakes,” Union of Concerned Scientists regional director Juliet Christian-Smith said. “Safety cannot take a back seat in our quest to keep the lights on and reduce global warming emissions.”
The bill now awaits the signature of Governor Gavin Newsom to become a law.
Information for this briefing was found via NPR. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.California Legislature Passes Bill That Could Extend Lifeline For Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant