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Governor Newsom changes stance on Diablo Canyon, considers trying to delay 2025 closure

Randol White/KCBX

There’s a chance Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County could stay online for at least a few years past its planned closure in 2025.

Governor Gavin Newsom told the L.A. Times Thursday that he’s planning to ask for a share of the $6 billion in federal funds President Biden announced this month, which are meant to save nuclear plants at risk of closing.

Diablo Canyon’s operator, utility PG&E, has previously said it plans to shut down both reactors by 2025, but it appears Newsom is open to the possibility of delaying that closure by a few years.

In a statement to KCBX News Friday, PG&E Spokesperson Suzanne Hosn said the utility is committed to California’s clean energy future and is open to considering all options to ensure continued safe and reliable energy delivery to customers.

Newsom’s office told the Times that the reconsideration is mainly due to projected energy shortages in the next few years.

However, the governor also reportedly clarified to the Times that he would still like to see the plant shut down in the long term, even if the closure is delayed.

Save Clean Energy Founder Isabelle Boemeke is an advocate for keeping Diablo Canyon open. She has participated in a San Luis Obispo County clean energy rally and recently helped draft a letter to the Governor’s Office urging a reconsideration of the plant's closure. It was signed by nearly 80 climate and energy experts.

“I think this is a huge deal. Even though it’s not the end of it and it’s just a maybe," Boemeke said. "It’s just putting it on the table. But, honestly, even a couple of months ago, it wasn’t even on the table.”

Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal reacted to this news by voicing support for renewable energy, but also calling on the governor not to make this decision without buy-in from local communities.

“I certainly appreciate the Governor’s interest in continuing California’s energy transition and reducing carbon emissions, but too many Central Coast jobs and livelihoods are at stake to make this decision without community input," Carbajal said in a release.

The application deadline for the federal funds is May 19.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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