The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County is the state’s largest producer of electricity.
More and more signs show that California Governor Gavin Newsom is gearing up for a possible presidential one, if not in 2024, then certainly in 2028.
A successful run would be impossible if the state’s touch power grid struggled. This might explain the governor’s rethinking the closure of the state’s last nuclear power plant.
Facing possible electricity shortages, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is considering keeping the state’s last nuclear power plant online beyond its planned closing in 2025.
The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County is the state’s largest producer of electricity, and it will be difficult to replace, even with an increase in renewables.
Pacific Gas and Electric owns it and says it would consider all options.
PG&E planned to close the plant once the reactor licenses expire as part of an agreement with labor unions, environmental groups, and nuclear stakeholders.
Newsom floated the idea that plant owner PG&E could seek a share of $6 billion in federal funding the Biden administration established earlier last month to support the continued operation of nuclear reactors at risk of closing.
Newsom, who has no direct authority over the operating license for Diablo Canyon, said the state would still move forward and submit an application to the U.S. Department of Energy by May 19 to avoid missing the opportunity to draw down on federal funds to possibly keep the plant open longer.
“We would be remiss not to put that on the table as an option,” the governor said.
“The Governor is in support of keeping all options on the table to ensure we have a reliable (electricity) grid,” his spokeswoman, Erin Mellon, later clarified. “This includes considering an extension to Diablo Canyon, which continues to be an important resource as we transition to clean energy.”
Newsom’s change of mind may be related to Biden’s crashing approval numbers and his reelection campaign facing widespread voter fury over inflation, homelessness, and rising crime rates.
Any proposal to extend the operating life of the plant is certain to revive an extensive battle over the plant’s safety and would involve complex reviews by an array of state and federal agencies.
The issues in play at Diablo Canyon range from a long-running debate over the ability of structures to withstand earthquakes — one fault runs 650 yards (594 meters) from the reactors — to the possibility PG&E might be ordered by state regulators to spend potentially billions of dollars to modify or replace the plant’s cooling system, which sucks up ocean water and has been blamed for killing fish and other marine life.
Also unclear is the plant’s capacity to store additional spent fuel from the reactors. The highly radioactive waste is kept at nuclear plants, since the nation does not have a long-term disposal site.
The nuclear power plant might be the first sensible idea to come from the governor’s office in quite some time. It will be interesting to see how much of the ridiculous green policies will be scrapped throughout Newsom’s next campaign.DONATE
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