Poll: Calif. voters want to keep Diablo Canyon open

The future of California’s last – arguably most critical – nuclear plant is in flux. Californians, however, are decidedly in support of keeping it open, a new survey finds.

With the future of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant uncertain, a new poll shows that the majority of California voters would like to see it remain open. 

Previously, Pacific Gas and Electric – which operates the power plant – agreed to shut down the plant by 2025. 


But California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently revealed plans to apply for $6 billion in federal funds that are designated for nuclear reactors that are set to close, which would effectively delay Diablo Canyon’s pending closure. 

Newly released polling commissioned by Carbon Free California showed that 58 percent of California voters support the continued operation of Diablo Canyon, which has been the last nuclear power plant in the state since the San Onofre plant shuttered in 2013. 

The poll was conducted by FM3 Research, a California-based public policy research firm. 

Voters in San Luis Obispo County – home of Diablo Canyon – were the most supportive of keeping the plant open, with 74 percent of respondents answering in favor. 

Narrowed down further, 59 percent of respondents in San Luis Obispo were strongly supportive of keeping Diablo Canyon running. 

Los Angeles County, the Central Valley and the Central Coast tied for the least supportive at 49 percent. 

Voters in Los Angeles County also came in as the most opposed at 41 percent. 

“We found that Californians broadly support the continued use of Diablo Canyon Power Plant to generate electricity,” said Dave Metz, partner and president at FM3 Research, in a statement. “Closer to the plant, in San Luis Obispo County specifically, we saw that support intensify.”

When asked about the most important benefits to keeping Diablo Canyon open, 77 percent of respondents said it would reduce the likelihood of blackouts and brownouts. 

The other answers were saving Californians $2.6 billion on their electricity bills over the next eight years (76 percent), providing reliable electricity as the state transitions to wind and solar (75 percent),  reducing the pollution that causes climate change (72 percent) and reducing the reliance on natural gas (50 percent). 

“California voters overwhelmingly approve of carbon-free energy – and support further use of nuclear energy,” said Danielle Deiseroth, the lead climate strategist at Data for Progress, in a statement. “It’s clear that these voters support the Diablo Canyon Power Plant remaining open to reduce electricity costs, enhance grid reliability, and meet our emissions reduction goals.” 

The poll questioned 620 California voters in mid-January, as well as an additional 217 total interviews of San Luis Obispo County voters.

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