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Q&A: Options for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant

MIT News

November 8, 2021

Researchers (including LucidCatalyst) argue the plant could provide multiple benefits for California, including desalinated water and clean hydrogen fuel.

Image: Tracey Adams, cc-by-2.0

The Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California, the only one still operating in the state, is set to close in 2025. A team of researchers at MIT’s Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems, Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab, and Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research; Stanford’s Precourt Energy Institute; and energy analysis firm LucidCatalyst LLC have analyzed the potential benefits the plant could provide if its operation were extended to 2030 or 2045.

They found that this nuclear plant could simultaneously help to stabilize the state’s electric grid, provide desalinated water to supplement the state’s chronic water shortages, and provide carbon-free hydrogen fuel for transportation. MIT News asked report co-authors Jacopo Buongiorno, the TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and John Lienhard, the Jameel Professor of Water and Food, to discuss the group’s findings.


Note Justin Aborn, Senior Consultant at LucidCatalyst, performed the analysis in and wrote Chapters 3 and 4.


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