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California Governor ”open” to keeping Diablo Canyon Nuclear Station going, but that might not be feasible

Gov. Newsom open to extending Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s life, but analysts differ on feasibility and need

Changing course on the planned retirement of the nuclear plant would be surprising given California’s efforts to procure new electricity resources to replace it, one expert said.

Utility Dive, Kavya Balaraman, Senior Reporter May 5, 2022   California Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, is open to the possibility of delaying the closure of the state’s last operational nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, according to media reports, but some industry players remain skeptical about the feasibility of such an effort.

Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Newsom may try to delay the retirement of the plant, currently scheduled to occur in 2024 and 2025 when the federal licenses for its two units expire. Newsom told the newspaper’s editorial board that California could try to tap into the $6 billion in federal funding announced in February for nuclear reactors facing retirement, noting that the state “would be remiss not to put that on the table as an option.”

Some experts, however, are skeptical about whether the plant can – and should – be kept open, given the process that would be required to get its Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license extended, as well as recent efforts in the state to build gigawatts of clean energy generation to replace it. ……..

PG&E spokesperson Carina Corral said in an emailed statement that the utility is proud of the role that the Diablo Canyon power plant plays in California…….

Other experts, however, don’t think that pursuing a license renewal process for Diablo Canyon is feasible at this point.

“If they were going to extend the life of the plants, they’d have to reapply to the NRC and that would mean preparing the applications again. And I think enough has changed since they originally submitted, that that would be a pretty heavy lift,” Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said.

If the decision to keep the plant open were made tomorrow, it is highly unlikely that Diablo Canyon’s Unit 1 would receive a renewal before its license expired, although that would still be possible for Unit 2, according to Lyman.

And on the issue of whether another party could take over ownership of Diablo Canyon and move forward with the renewal process, “they would have to transfer the existing license to a new entity – and that in itself is a regulatory action that could be subject to challenge,” he said.


May 7, 2022 - Posted by | politics, USA

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