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DOE Approves Conditional Funding to Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

November 28, 2022 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — The Department of Energy has approved roughly $1.1 billion in conditional funding for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company filed its application for federal funding on Sept. 2, 2022, the same day California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 846 into law, seeking to extend operations at the power plant for five years beyond its current license expiration date in 2025. 

According to Newsom and others, the extension of the plant’s life will help improve statewide energy system reliability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while additional renewable energy and carbon-free resources are being brought online.

Last month, the state authorized a loan of up to $1.4 billion from the Department of Water Resources to PG&E to support extending operations at the plant. 

SB 846 further directed PG&E to pursue funds from the DOE, and any other potentially available federal funds, to pay back the loan and lower costs for customers should the plant’s operating license be extended.

“This is another very positive step forward to extend the operating life of Diablo Canyon Power Plant to ensure electrical reliability for all Californians,” said PG&E CEO Patti Poppe. 

“While there are key federal and state approvals remaining before us in this multi-year process, we remain focused on continuing to provide reliable, low-cost, carbon-free energy to the people of California, while safely operating one of the top-performing plants in the country,” she added.

Final award amounts will be determined following completion of each year of the award period, and amounts awarded will be based on actual costs.

“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,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

“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,” she said.

Diablo is the last operational nuclear plant in California and can generate 2.2 GW of baseload electricity.

The facility currently provides around 17% of the state’s zero-carbon electricity supply and 8.6% of its total power supply.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://tw

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