California Makes Deal With Diablo: Nuke Plant To Remain Open

Eric Scheiner | September 1, 2022
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California’s state legislature voted early Thursday morning to reverse plans to shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, allowing it to remain open for another five years.

Fearing the darkness of relying on renewables, lawmakers in the state Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill.

Politico reports on the deal:

Their vote took place against the backdrop of a punishing heat wave expected to last through the Labor Day weekend that has prompted state officials to urge people to conserve energy to prevent blackouts.

Any future blackouts that resulted from the closure of the nuclear plant would be blamed on the Democrats, one lawmaker warned.

“So the last time we didn’t keep the lights on, at the beginning of the century, in 2002, we lost a governor,” said Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward). “So far, I’m hearing all the Republicans come up, but you know who’s going to get blamed for this, if it doesn’t happen? It’s us Dems, and it should be. We’re in control in the Capitol. We will get blamed if the lights go out.”

The nuclear power plant was set to shut down in 2025 largely due to anti-nuclear sentiment and a preference for renewable power sources. One of Diablo Canyon’s reactors was set to shut down in November 2024 and the other in August 2025. 

Related: Californians Told to Stop Charging EVs & Turn Down the A/C Amid Sweltering Heat Wave

The deal with Diablo costs $1.4 billion to keep the two reactors open through October 2029 and October 2030. A $1.4 billion dollar “forgivable” loan by the state to the plant’s owner, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, is included in the legislation.

The vote comes just after the state asked residents to hold off on charging their electric vehicles and to set their air conditioning to 78 degrees or higher to conserve electricity.

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