New California law could fund Diablo Canyon life extension

July 6, 2022, 6:59AMNuclear News

The decision by the Department of Energy to revise its Civil Nuclear Credit Program—easing the path toward program qualification for California’s Diablo Canyon—was not the only promising news last week for advocates of the state’s sole operating nuclear power facility. On June 30, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that could provide funding for Diablo Canyon in the event the state decides to keep the plant in operation beyond its slated 2025 closure date. Also in line for possible life extension under the measure are some of Southern California’s fossil fuel plants.

According to this piece in Cal Matters, the legislation—which aims to strengthen a grid that some say is overly reliant on renewables—includes an energy trailer bill that “allocates a reserve fund of up to $75 million to the state Department of Water Resources to prolong the operation of aging power plants scheduled to close.”

As noted by this report from the Sacramento Bee, however, the legislation by itself wouldn’t mandate that Diablo Canyon and the gas-fired plants stay open, Ana Matosantos, the governor’s cabinet secretary, told the Los Angeles Times. Matosantos noted that saving the nuclear plant would require approval from the federal government.

ANS reacts: Following passage of the bill on June 29, ANS President Steven Arndt and Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy issued a statement applauding the lawmakers and thanking Newsom “for his support and reconsideration of the state’s decision to prematurely shutter California’s largest clean energy resource.

The statement continued: “California doesn’t have enough reliable electricity resources today to keep the lights on. The future loss of Diablo Canyon’s carbon-free baseload power would significantly worsen California’s energy crisis. Keeping Diablo Canyon online would shore up California’s grid reliability while avoiding increased emissions. Action is needed now to ensure Diablo Canyon’s availability in the future.

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