California · Energy

California Screaming: Report hypes out-of-state “opposition” to Newsom flip to save Diablo Canyon

Diablo Canyon, the lone operating nuclear power plant in the Golden State, is facing something of a renaissance of support among California lawmakers and voters.

The plant, which is set for closure in 2026 when its final license expires, has seen its position strengthened by a recent study by MIT and Stanford, coupled with political support from Gov. Gavin Newsom and voters.

However, that hasn’t stopped some environmental advocates from pushing back.

The issue? Most are far-flung activist groups with little tie to the Golden State.

Per the Associated Press:

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.”

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.

Les Hubbard is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.