Report says California is asking for federal money to save a nuclear plant 2022-04-29 12:46:00


California Governor Gavin Newsom delivers remarks while touring the US Forest Service’s Del Rosa Fire Station with US Vice President Kamala Harris, in San Bernardino, California, US January 21, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

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(Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom said his state will apply for a portion of new federal funds intended to support nuclear power plants scheduled to close, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times on Friday.

The move could extend the operating life of the state’s last remaining nuclear power plant, the Diablo Canyon facility owned by PG&E Corp. (PCG.N).

A Newsom spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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“We would be remiss in not bringing that to the table as an option,” Newsom told the Los Angeles Times editorial board Thursday, according to the report.

He was talking about the Biden administration’s $6 billion program, unveiled this month, to help nuclear power plants stay open. Applications for the first round of funding must be submitted by 19 May. Read more

Diablo Canyon reactors are scheduled to shut down in 2024 and 2025, removing 2,256 megawatts of the state’s carbon-free capacity. The plant provided 8.5% of California’s total energy needs in 2020.

PG&E, which said last week it is following the state’s energy policies regarding closing Diablo Canyon, said in a statement Friday that it is “always open to considering all options to ensure we continue to provide safe, reliable and clean energy to our customers.”

The facility discussed the plant’s eligibility for funding with the state, but was not directed to pursue it, according to a spokesperson for Linsey Paolo.

California aims to produce all of its electricity from clean sources by 2045, but has faced challenges in its transition away from fossil fuels, including blackouts during the summer heatwave in 2020.

Recently, Newsom warned this week that the planned 4,350 megawatts of solar capacity and battery storage capacity that the state relies on could be delayed due to a Commerce Department investigation that could lead to exorbitant tariffs on solar panel imports.

“Delays and outages of this magnitude are hampering our efforts to combat climate change and threatening our ability to maintain energy reliability,” Newsom said in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Thursday, urging a speedy resolution of the investigation.

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Nicholas Groom reports. Editing by Aurora Ellis and Kevin Levy

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