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Governor of California proposes to extend life of last nuclear plant at cost of $1.4 billion

The bill would carve out an exemption from state regulations to allow operators to maintain operations at the plant without conducting extensive technical analysis of the environmental effects.

A joint statement from Environment California, Friends of the Earth and the Natural Resources Defense Council said legislators should reject Newsom’s new bill “out of hand.

Politico, By LARA KORTE, 08/12/2022

Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed keeping open California’s last nuclear plant for up to another 10 years as the state wrestles with how to meet power demand while it reduces its reliance on fossil fuels for energy.

Plans to start closing the Diablo Canyon Power Plant over the next three years would be halted at a cost of up to $1.4 billion under draft legislation Newsom sent to legislators late Thursday, angering some of the governor’s environmentalist allies.

Diablo Canyon provides nearly a tenth of the state’s electrical power. Critics have long sought its closure for reasons that include the potential danger of a radiation leak because of earthquakes along the seismically active central coast of California. It was scheduled to close by 2025.

The proposed legislation would direct the California Public Utilities Commission to set a new closure date of Oct. 31, 2029 for one unit, and Oct. 31, 2030, for the other, according to the governor’s office. By 2026, regulators could consider an extension, but not beyond Oct. 31, 2035.

The bill would carve out an exemption from state regulations to allow operators to maintain operations at the plant without conducting extensive technical analysis of the environmental effects.

Extending the life of the nuclear plant would come at a cost. Pacific Gas & Electric, which operates the plant, applied to the U.S. Department of Energy’s $6 billion program to preserve the operations of nuclear power plants — though it’s unclear how much will be granted, or when. The language proposed by Newsom’s office this week would allow the state to grant PG&E a $1.4 billion forgivable loan to cover the costs of relicensing. Any extension would additionally require approvals by federal, state and local regulatory entities, the governor’s office said.

A joint statement from Environment California, Friends of the Earth and the Natural Resources Defense Council said legislators should reject Newsom’s new bill “out of hand.”

“The findings used to justify these extraordinary provisions include no citations to published studies by any California regulator or agency recommending a further life extension for Diablo Canyon because there are none,” the statement said. “With Governor Newsom and the legislature working to appropriate climate budget funds and advance ambitious climate legislation in the waning days of the legislative session, this proposal is a dangerous and costly distraction.” ……………………….. more https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/12/california-proposes-extend-nuclear-plant-cost-1-4-billion-00051535

August 14, 2022 - Posted by | politics, USA

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