Environmentalists oppose more life for Diablo Canyon nuke plant on California coast

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By Michael R. Blood | AP — Washington Post — May 17, 2022

LOS ANGELES — Dozens of environmental and anti-nuclear organizations expressed opposition Tuesday to any attempt to extend the life of California’s last operating nuclear power plant, challenging suggestions that its electricity is needed to meet potential future shortages in the nation’s most populous state.

Last month, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom raised the possibility that the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant — which sits on a coastal bluff halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles — could keep running beyond a scheduled closing by 2025. His office said the governor is in favor of “keeping all options on the table to ensure we have a reliable (electricity) grid.”

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant — near San Luis Obispo, Calif.

In a letter to Newsom, groups that included San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, the Oregon Conservancy Foundation, the Snake River Alliance and the Ohio Nuclear Free Network said the plant is old, unsafe and too close to earthquake faults that pose a threat to the twin reactors.

“Your suggestion to extend the operational life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility is an outrage,” they wrote. “Diablo Canyon is dangerous, dirty and expensive. It must retire as planned.”

The Democratic governor has no direct authority over the operating license for the plant. He floated the idea that owner Pacific Gas & Electric could seek a share of $6 billion in federal funding the Biden administration established to rescue nuclear plants at risk of closing.

PG&E, which in 2016 decided to shutter the plant by 2025, did not directly address Newsom’s suggestion at the time or say whether the company would consider seeking federal dollars to remain open beyond the scheduled closing.

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