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California Reconsidering Closure Of Its Last Nuclear Power Plant

As another summer threatens the stability of California’s power grid, Governor Gavin Newsom has said that he would keep all options on the table to ensure the reliability of the grid as heatwaves, drought, and wildfires are expected to create problems for California’s power supply this summer, too.

One of the options could be to keep the last remaining nuclear power plant in the state, Diablo Canyon, open beyond its original date of closure, 2025.

Governor Newsom supports “keeping all options on the table” in order to ensure a reliable grid until the state transitions away from fossil fuels. Yet, analysts say that a plan to extend the Diablo Canyon life beyond 2025 would face numerous technical and financial challenges.

The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant accounted for 8.53% of California’s in-state power generation in 2020, data from California Energy Commission show. Nuclear power represented 9.33% of California’s total power mix if imports from other states are included.

California decided in 2016 to close down Diablo Canyon in 2025, with one reactor closing down in 2024 and the other in the following year. The state was planning to have the nuclear power generated from Diablo Canyon replaced by solar and wind sources.

However, faced with another year of challenges to the state’s grid stability, the Governor is reconsidering the 2025 end date for the last remaining nuclear power plant in California. Diablo Canyon owner Pacific Gas & Electric is preparing to close down the plant in 2025, but Governor Newsom told the L.A. Times editorial board last month that California might look to apply for federal funds to help it keep nuclear plants open. 

“The requirement is by May 19 to submit an application, or you miss the opportunity to draw down any federal funds if you want to extend the life of that plant,” Newsom told L.A. Times. “We would be remiss not to put that on the table as an option,” he added.  

According to Katie Tubb, research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, “It is very, very hard at this point, to turn this battleship around,” Tubb told The Daily Wire.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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