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Newsom Flip-Flops on Closing Calif.’s Last Nuclear Plant

'We would be remiss not to put that on the table as an option... '

(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Faced with a failing power grid, California Gov. Gavin Newsom may let the state’s last-remaining nuclear power plant keep operating past its planned shutdown date in 2025, Legal Insurrection reported.

Newsom said the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County should file with the federal Energy Department for a renewed operating license and federal grants to keep the plant running.

“The requirement is by May 19 to submit an application, or you miss the opportunity to draw down any federal funds if you want to extend the life of that plant,” he said. “We would be remiss not to put that on the table as an option.”

Diablo Canyon could receive a portion of the $6 billion that the Biden administration allocated to keep nuclear power plants in operations.

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Newsom’s spokesperson said the governor still wants to the plant to close in the long-run.

He campaigned on closing all nuclear power plants as soon as possible.

Pacific Gas & Electric, which operates the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, agreed in 2016 to close the plant in 2025 rather than invest in technologies to preserve the environment and to prevent natural disasters, like earthquakes, from harming the plant.

Diablo Canyon produced 6% of California’s electricity needs in 2021.

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“The Governor is in support of keeping all options on the table to ensure we have a reliable grid,” spokeswoman Erin Mellon said. “This includes considering an extension to Diablo Canyon, which continues to be an important resource as we transition to clean energy.”

Nuclear power supplies about one-fifth of the nation’s electricity needs or about as much as all green energies combined, including solar panels, wind turbines, and hydropower dams, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A plurality of Californians—44%—want to see more nuclear plants, compared to 37% who oppose new nuclear projects. Thirty-nine percent oppose closing Diablo Canyon, while 33% want it closed.

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