by Zero Hedge
California’s last operating nuclear power plant was given another funding boost Nov. 21 as operators seek to keep it running for another eight years.
The U.S. Energy Department awarded Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant $1.1 billion from the Civil Nuclear Credit Program funded by an infrastructure bill passed by Congress in 2021.
“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,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement on Nov. 21.
Nuclear power provides half of the nation’s carbon-free electricity, according to the agency. Since 2013, 13 reactors across the United States have shuttered.
Final terms of the funding will need to be finalized by the Energy Department, officials said. The plant produces about 15 percent of California’s renewable energy.
It produced about 9 percent of the state’s energy last year, according to the state’s energy commission.
Politicians applauded the funding that will help extend the life of the once-doomed power plant located in central California near San Luis Obispo.
“This investment creates a path forward for a limited-term extension of the Diablo Canyon Power plant to support reliability statewide and provide an onramp for ore clean energy projects to come online,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
Newsom signed legislation Sept. 1 to reverse plans to terminate the plant, which was scheduled to close in 2025.
The bill was essential to prevent rolling blackouts and increased electricity prices in California, according to author Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa). It allows Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to continue operating the plant until 2030. It also authorized a forgivable loan of $1.4 billion from the state to help extend the operations.
PG&E agreed six years ago to close the San Luis Obispo plant amid pressure from environmental groups and the local community.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement she welcomed the news.
“This short-term extension is necessary if California is going to meet its ambitious clean-energy goals while continuing to deliver reliable power,” Feinstein wrote. “This is especially critical as California’s electric grid has faced increasing challenges from climate-fueled extreme weather events.”
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