The Biden-Harris administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced the conditional selection of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, located near Avila Beach, California, to receive the first round of funding from the Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program.
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Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the $6 billion CNC program supports the continued operations of safe and reliable nuclear energy facilities, preserving thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs while avoiding carbon emissions.
Nuclear power currently provides 50% of the nation’s carbon free electricity but shifting energy markets and other economic factors have already resulted in the early closures of 13 commercial reactors across the United States since 2013.
These closures have led to an increase in carbon emissions in those regions, poorer air quality for residents living in the surrounding areas, and the loss of thousands of high-paying jobs.
Units 1 and 2 at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant were scheduled to be decommissioned in 2024 and 2025, but this conditional award of credits, valued at up to $1.1 billion, creates a path forward for Diablo Canyon to remain open.
Final terms are subject to negotiation and finalization by DOE.
Owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Diablo Canyon produces approximately 16 GWh of electricity annually, about 15% of the state’s clean energy. The award will save 1,500 clean energy jobs.
As urged by the responses received from the public during the comment period earlier this year, the first CNC award cycle prioritized reactors facing the most imminent threat of closure, limiting applications to reactors that had already announced intentions to cease operations due to economic factors.
The second CNC award cycle will prioritize reactors that are projected to shut down due to economic factors within the next four years.
DOE is expected to begin accepting applications for the second cycle of CNC funding in January 2023. ■