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Newsom offers hope for California’s last nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon


PG&E Corp.’s Diablo Canyon plant in California. (Joe Johnston/San Luis Obispo Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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Gavin Newsom, governor of California, is open to operating Diablo Canyon’s last nuclear power station, past the planned shut down date in 2025. However, it will not be indefinitely.

Newsom suggested to the LA Times’ editorial staff that they might seek federal funding in a Thursday conversation Biden administration made available in its Bipartisan Infrastructure LawUneconomic nuclear power plants should be kept open.

You must submit your application by May 19, otherwise you will miss out on federal funding. Newsom told the LA Times’ editorial board. It would be remiss of us not to consider that as an option.

The power plant, located in San Luis Obispo County and operated by utility company PG&E, is slated to cease operations byAugust 2025

Newsom was open to discussing the possibility of Diablo Canyon being kept open with the LA Times. However, Newsom’s office stressed his determination to shut down the plant.

“In long-term, the Governor continues support the closing of Diablo Canyon, as we transition into clean energy and ensure the reliability of the energy grid,” Erin Mellon (a spokesperson for Newsom) said to CNBC.

Newsom is primarily concerned about keeping California’s grid running for residents. He has reason to worry. Mellon stated that California’s Independent System Operator believes California may have greater demand than supply in extreme weather events like those California experienced the last two summers.

The decision on whether the Diablo Canyon will seek federal funding or not is entirely up to them PG&E, Mellon said.

PG&E said its priority was clean and reliable energy for California.

“The people of PG&E are proud of the role that Diablo Canyon Power Plant plays in our state,” Suzanne Hosn, spokesperson for PG&E told CNBC. We are open to exploring all possibilities to provide safe, reliable and clean energy to customers.

A nuclear reactor must prove that it is “at risk” of being shut down by economic factors in order to be eligible to receive any $6 billion funding. procedural document issued by the Department of Energy in February. PG&E is a public company and its most recent quarterly filingAlthough the profits were evident, the company did not have the finances to pay for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

California politics and regulatory hurdles are in their way

After the heat wave in August caused some rolling blackouts, the heated debate over the shutdown was rekindled.

Newsom made comments about Diablo Canyon, but it is highly unlikely that the canyon will be given a second chance. David VictorProfessor at University of California San Diego.

Victor stated that he has supported Diablo Canyon’s extension for a long time. Victor spoke to CNBC. “I believe it is politically very difficult in California,” Victor said.

Rich Powell is the chief executive officer of Clean Energy Policy Organization ClearPathAccording to, Diablo Canyon’s fate is determined by California politics. “Diablo Canyon’s fate depends on state policy and not federal money.”

Also, it would need a fast turnaround for regulatory filings. “PG&E would have to file for a license extension and they have done none of the groundwork,” Victor said.

The country’s top regulator agency must grant a license for nuclear plants to be operational. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). In 2018, PG&E withdrew the application that had been on file with the NRC to renew the plant’s license for another 20 years, Scott Burnell, spokesperson for the NRC, told CNBC.

Burnell stated that the NRC must see an updated environment report in order to renew Diablo’s application. This includes, Burnell explained, a review on the cooling system water for the nuclear reactor. Burnell explained that it takes time for this to be developed.

Newsom would be foolish to keep Diablo Canyon closed if it didn’t help him curry favor among those who he can depend upon if he pursues political ambitions.

Victor stated that “one of the challenges for the governor will be that most Americans on the left side of American politics are very opposed to Diablo’s license extension.” If he is to win the nomination, he must convince those people to support him.