Staying Power

Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature deserve kudos for the decision to keep Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant operational for another five years past its originally scheduled closure in 2025. It is undoubtedly the case that, when the new closure date is closer in another five years or so, this vital, environmentally friendly component of California’s comprehensive energy delivery system will again remain open. It is probable that Diablo Canyon will now keep providing fossil-free energy for decades.

Anyone who considers himself or herself an environmentalist should support retention of Diablo Canyon Power Plant. As reported in the recent Independent article, it currently provides about 11 percent of the state’s total electricity. Moreover, Diablo Canyon currently provides about 17 percent of the state’s zero-carbon electricity. In addition, Diablo Canyon provides about 0.67 percent of all electricity in the United States and about 1.03 percent of non-fossil fuel electricity in the U.S. That’s a lot of electricity.  

How it would be possible — now and for decades — to increase California’s zero-carbon electricity production fundamentally and simultaneously to eliminate 17 percent of existing zero-carbon electricity is an open question. Now is the time to expand, not diminish, use of nuclear energy. Retention of Diablo Canyon Power Plant is part of the answer to a reduced fossil-fuel future.


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