By MICHAEL R. BLOOD
April 29, 2022
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Facing possible electricity shortages, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday raised the possibility that the state’s sole remaining nuclear power plant might continue operating beyond a planned closing by 2025, an idea that could revive a decades-old fight over earthquake safety at the site.
The Democratic governor has no direct authority over the operating license for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, which sits on a seaside bluff above the Pacific midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. But the governor floated the idea that plant owner Pacific Gas & Electric could seek a share of $6 billion in federal funding the Biden administration established to rescue nuclear plants at risk of closing.
“The Governor is in support of keeping all options on the table to ensure we have a reliable (electricity) grid,” spokeswoman Erin Mellon said. “This includes considering an extension to Diablo Canyon, which continues to be an important resource as we transition to clean energy.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses the effect of the drought on power generation after touring the Edward Hyatt Power Plant at the Oroville Dam, in Oroville, Calif., Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Facing possible electricity shortages, Newsom on Friday, April 29, 2022, raised the possibility that the state's sole remaining nuclear power plant might continue operating beyond a planned closing by 2025. Newsom has no direct authority over the operating license for the nuclear power plant, but Newsom spokeswoman Erin Mellon said "The Governor is in support keeping all options on the table to ensure we have a reliable (electricity) grid.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Newsom’s idea was welcomed by the American Nuclear Society, which represents professionals in nuclear science and technology. Diablo Canyon “has an essential role to play in California’s clean and secure energy future,” the group said.
Research from scientists at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [and LucidCatalyst] has concluded that delaying Diablo Canyon’s retirement to 2035 would save California $2.6 billion in power system costs, reduce the chances of brownouts and lower carbon emissions. When the research was presented in November, former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the nation is not positioned in the near-term to go to 100% renewable energy.
There are 55 commercial nuclear power plants with 93 nuclear reactors in 28 U.S. states. Nuclear power already provides about 20% of electricity in the U.S., or about half the nation’s carbon-free energy.
> Read report by Stanford, MIT and LucidCatalyst that provides research and analysis for supporting Diablo Canyon to remain open
Justin Aborn, a Senior Consultant at LucidCatalyst, LLC, performed the analysis in and wrote Chapters 3 and 4 of the report.