Can Newsom Determine Diablo?
Mothers for Peace questions whether the Governor has the power to make any decisions about how long Diablo Canyon should operate.
In looking at the Department of Energy Guidance for applicants to the Nuclear Credit Program, otherwise known as the federal bailout program, we see the following conditions:
1. The applicant must be the owner of a nuclear plant. Therefore, this decision is solely in the hands of PG&E. Neither the Board of Supervisors nor the Governor may apply to this program, nor can the Governor order PG&E, a private corporation, to take this action.
2. Companies applying for these funds are required to show that 50 percent of their total revenue comes “from sources that are exposed to electricity market competition.” PG&E operates as a regulated monopoly, and the preponderance of its revenues is not in a competitive market. Instead, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) allows PG&E to charge its customers enough to keep Diablo Canyon economically viable. This is the reason why consumers are paying above market rates for power from Diablo.
Furthermore, if PG&E did want to continue to operate past the 2025 closure date it has chosen, it would have to face a variety of complicated issues: building very expensive cooling towers to replace its once-through-cooling system, negotiating monies already gifted to San Luis Obispo County and cities as well as employee incentives, and consequences of failing to comply with the Settlement Agreement completed with the CPUC in 2018.
Logic and the safety of our community requires Diablo Canyon to close as planned in 2024 and 2025. Millions of dollars of taxpayer and rate payer money have already been spent to support an orderly shutdown process.