Although previously a supporter of Diablo Canyon’s early closure, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein took to the pages of the Sacramento Bee yesterday to endorse life extension for the state’s sole operating nuclear power plant.
Citing projected electricity shortfalls in California due to the effects of climate change, Feinstein writes that “Pacific Gas and Electric Company should reconsider its decision to close Diablo Canyon by 2025. The utility should get the plant relicensed instead, retiring it once the state can replace its production with clean sources.”
The senator continues: “I remain concerned about the lack of long-term storage for spent nuclear fuel and am working to develop better solutions. But at this point, keeping Diablo Canyon open and producing carbon-free energy is more important.”
Also cited in the piece is last year’s Stanford University–Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, which found that delaying Diablo Canyon’s retirement to 2035 would lower California power sector carbon emissions by more than 10 percent from 2017 levels and reduce reliance on gas, save $2.6 billion in power system costs, and bolster system reliability to mitigate brownouts.
Can you say momentum? Feinstein’s support for keeping Diablo Canyon on line follows California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s April rethink on the matter. Plus, late last month, Newsom’s office sent a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm requesting “a few minor adjustments” to the guidance issued by the Department of Energy for the federal government’s new Civil Nuclear Credit Program to ensure that Diablo Canyon would be eligible to participate.