The last remaining nuclear power plant in California just got a $1.1 billion dollar grant from the federal government to keep the lights on, as the on-again, off-again fate of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power facility looks like it will keep humming at least a couple more years.
Last we’d heard of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant — California’s last remaining nuclear power plant and located some 250 miles south of SF in San Luis Obispo — the plant received a $75 million allocation from the state to stay open last June, even though it is still scheduled to be closed in 2025. The long-term fate of the plant is still unclear. But the short-term fate the plant, which is operated by PG&E, is rosy, as KPIX reports the Diablo Canyon Power Plant has received a $1.1 federal grant to keep operating, with the funds coming from money allotted in President Biden’s infrastructure bill.
“This is a critical step toward ensuring that our domestic nuclear fleet will continue providing reliable and affordable power to Americans as the nation’s largest source of clean electricity,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement after the grant was announced. “Nuclear energy will help us meet President Biden’s climate goals, and with these historic investments in clean energy, we can protect these facilities and the communities they serve.”
Whether nuclear energy is “clean” is surely a matter of debate. But there’s no debate that we did lean on power generated from that plant when there were a few rolling blackouts in the early September heatwave this year.
“This short-term extension is necessary if California is going to meet its ambitious clean-energy goals while continuing to deliver reliable power,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said in a statement to the New York Times. “This is especially critical as California’s electric grid has faced increasing challenges from climate-fueled extreme weather events.”
Giving money to PG&E, especially giving a billion dollars to PG&E, seems like an aggravating waste of our tax money. That said, power from this plant probably did help substantially in limiting the relatively small number of blackouts we encountered this year. But this also ensures the same “will we or won’t we” limbo with the Diablo Canyon Power Plant continues for at least a couple more years. As KPIX points out, “PG&E is taking actions to seek re-licensing while also continuing to plan for the eventual decommissioning of the plant.”
Image: Tracey Adams via Wikimedia Commons