#California ’s last nuclear plant will close soon. Why the Biden administration wants it open RSS Feed

California’s last nuclear plant will close soon. Why the Biden administration wants it open

It’s California’s last nuclear plant, destined to be mothballed in four years amid concerns that its closure could leave a gaping hole in the state’s power supply.

Now the Biden administration is pushing the idea that PG&E Corp.’s Diablo Canyon power plant should stay open, after all. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, in an interview this week with Reuters, said California might want to preserve Diablo Canyon, located on the Pacific coast in San Luis Obispo County, as a source of low-carbon energy in an era of climate change.

“California has been very bullish on zero-carbon emission energy,” Granholm said. Keeping the plant open “may be something that they decide to take a look at, given that I think there is a change underfoot about the opinion that people may have about nuclear.”

Although PG&E says it still plans to close Diablo Canyon, the energy secretary’s comment comes as others are pushing for a reprieve. In November, a high-profile study produced by scientists at Stanford and MIT called for the plant to stay open. Opponents of Diablo Canyon said they fear a bandwagon effect is emerging to prolong the plant’s life.

“It’s like a freight train coming toward us,” said Linda Seeley, of the group San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace. “They’re not looking at the issue of having a 40-year-old nuclear power plant on 13 faults.”

Diablo Canyon produces about 9% of the state’s electricity supply, and state officials have warned that its planned shutdown in 2025 could undermine the state’s efforts to keep the lights on. California already experienced two nights of rolling blackouts in 2020 and narrowly avoided more blackouts during this year’s heatwave in July.

“The period after the Diablo Canyon retirement will be a critical point for system reliability,” the Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, said in a May 2020 report to the Public Utilities Commission. Officials with the grid operator and the utilities commission weren’t immediately available for comment. And some critics of Diablo Canyon say the state’s energy picture isn’t as dire as it seemed even a few months ago.

Read full article at The Sacramento Bee