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PG&E requests deadline extension to apply for federal funding to keep Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant open

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. – PG&E has requested a deadline extension to apply for federal funds to keep Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant operating despite plans for its 2025 decommissioning.

The utility company – which also operates the nuclear power plant located near Avila Beach – asked the U.S. Department of Energy for an extension to apply to the Civil Nuclear Credit program that allows owners and operators of nuclear power plants that are expected to shut down to apply for funding to keep them open longer.

The Biden Administration allocated $6 billion for the program.

“Considering the recent direction from the state, we have requested an extension of the Civil Nuclear Credit program application deadline to consider and possibly apply for funding, which would reduce costs to our customers should the state want to preserve the option to extend DCPP operations to help ensure grid reliability," said Carina Corral, communications representative for PG&E.

The Department of Energy had already extended the deadline to apply for Civil Nuclear Credit funds from May 19 to July 5, as News Channel 3-12 previously reported.

Before the deadline extension, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in an interview with the L.A. Times that the state would seek out a share of the federal funding to keep that option on the table, as the plant generated about 6% of the state's power last year. He said the state would "be remiss not to put that on the table as an option."

However, PG&E would have to be the entity to apply for the federal funding as it is the current operator of Diablo Canyon Power Plant, said Suzanne Hosn, spokeswoman for PG&E.

"In April 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom indicated interest in reevaluating the role of Diablo Canyon as the state continues its transition to a clean energy future," PG&E wrote in its extension request to the Department of Energy. "In light of this development and at the governor’s request, PG&E began assessing the option to extend operations of DCPP."

The California legislature also recently approved an energy budget trailer bill, AB 205, that could aid in keeping Diablo Canyon open. The bill gives the state authority to approve new proposals and purchase electricity from plants that are scheduled to be decommissioned over the next few years – including Diablo Canyon.

San Luis Obispo County state Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham said that the bill lays the groundwork for extending the life of Diablo Canyon.

"Experts agree that California will not be able to keep the lights and AC on, meet our carbon neutrality goals, and power our economy if Diablo Canyon closes in 2025," Cunningham said in a statement.

"We need an all-of-the-above approach to fighting climate change and building a resilient electricity grid. Extending Diablo Canyon is necessary for a smooth transition to a fully renewable energy grid.”

PG&E requested a 75-day extension to apply for the federal funds because of the "significant amount of detailed information," that the application requires. The 75 days would allow the utility company the time needed to "collect and analyze the information and prepare an application," the extension request said.

Article Topic Follows: San Luis Obispo County
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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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