Senate Bill 846 is key to safeguarding grid reliability amid climate change
LA GRANGE PARK, Illinois – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) sent a letter to California state legislators urging quick passage of bipartisan legislation (Senate Bill 846) to extend operations of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
“On behalf of the American Nuclear Society’s (ANS) 10,000 professional members, many of whom live in California, we urge quick passage of Senate Bill 846, as part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s climate action plan to keep California’s lights on by extending the operations of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant,” wrote ANS President Steven Arndt and CEO/Executive Director Craig Piercy in an Aug. 29th letter to members of the California State Legislature.
“The premature shutdown of Diablo Canyon units 1 and 2, slated respectively in November 2024 and August 2025, would inflict grave harm to California's economy, environment, and power grid,” said Arndt and Piercy.
With the support of Gov. Newsom (D) in keeping Diablo Canyon online, S.B. 846 is co-sponsored by California Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo). California lawmakers have until Wednesday, August 31 to pass S.B. 836 before the legislature adjourns for the session.
Passage of legislation to keep Diablo Canyon online would:
- safeguard California’s largest carbon-free energy resource,
- prevent worse blackouts on California’s already fragile power grid
- mitigate the state’s growing dependency on out-of-state fossil fuels,
- avoid millions of tons of additional greenhouse gas emissions per year,
- and bolster the state’s climate efforts.
By voicing support for extended operations of Diablo Canyon, the American Nuclear Society joins a broad pro-Diablo Canyon coalition of scientists, labor unions, environmentalists, and associations, including the Clean Air Task Force, the Bay Area Council, Local 1245 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers.
“Diablo Canyon’s 2,240 megawatts of baseload power constitutes approximately 17 percent of California’s greenhouse-gas-free electricity supply and nearly 9 percent of California’s total electricity supply,” continued the ANS letter. “Diablo Canyon remains an important source of safe, reliable, and dispatchable zero-emissions electricity.”
“California will need Diablo Canyon and every other clean energy resource it has to meet its electric reliability, environmental, and climate goals. The state cannot afford to limit its decarbonization strategy to solar, wind, geothermal and battery technologies. Intermittent sources alone cannot do the job. A clean, affordable, and reliable grid requires a strong backbone of always-on and available baseload generation like Diablo Canyon.”
“Continued drought has sustained dramatic drops in the productivity of hydroelectric power in the state, down 48 percent below normal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. If the planned closure goes ahead, most of Diablo Canyon’s carbon-free electricity would be replaced by carbon-emitting natural gas- and coal-fired generation from out of state.”
S.B. 846 provides a pathway for relicensing Diablo Canyon at the federal and state levels, expedites state regulatory review of extending plant operations, and enables plant owner Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) to recover costs associated with relicensing Diablo Canyon.
“The costs associated with preserving California’s largest clean energy resource is a small investment compared to the overall cost of California’s challenging energy transition,” said Arndt and Piercy in the joint letter.
“On behalf of California’s nuclear engineers, scientists and technologists, we encourage you to support S.B. 846 and we urge quick passage to save Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.”
About: Established in 1954, the American Nuclear Society (ANS) is an international professional organization of engineers and scientists devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its more than 10,000 members represent government, academia, research laboratories, medical facilities, and private industry. ANS’s mission is to advance, foster, and spur the development and application of nuclear science, engineering, and technology to benefit society.
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