90.1 FM San Luis Obispo | 91.7 FM Paso Robles | 91.1 FM Cayucos | 95.1 FM Lompoc | 90.9 FM Avila
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Concern grows as state lawmakers approve a $400 million loan to extend Diablo Canyon

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

Some groups opposing the extension of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant’s license are concerned that taxpayers will be on the hook for a large chunk of a $400 million loan to keep the plant running.

California lawmakers approved the loan earlier this week. The funds will go to PG&E, which operates Diablo Canyon, as part of a larger $1.4 billion plan to extend the plant's operations.

Diane Curran, an attorney for Mothers for Peace, an anti-nuclear group in San Luis Obispo, expressed concerns.

“The stockholders of PG&E are not going to bear any of this risk; just the taxpayers and the rate payers,” Curran said.

A federal grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Civil Nuclear Credit Award guarantees repayment of up to $1.1 billion of the plan. However, the state has not specified how the remaining $300 million will be repaid.

David Weisman, director of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, an anti-nuclear and ratepayer advocacy group, also raised concerns about the funding.

“The state's general fund is essentially robbing taxpayers of their money, handing it over to a utility that doesn't need it and has almost no potential to repay the money,” Weisman said.

PG&E did not respond directly to Weisman’s claim but said in an email that Diablo Canyon is the only cost-effective way to meet California’s energy needs.

Ryan Endean, a spokesperson from the California Department of Water Resources, which oversees the loan, said in an email that repayment could come from several sources.

“At this point we do not know the actual amounts available from each source, so it is incorrect to assume that the loan, or a part of the loan, will not be repaid,” Endean said.

KCBX Reporter Amanda Wernik graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Journalism. Amanda is currently a fellow with the USC Center for Health Journalism, completing a data fellowship that will result in a news feature series to air on KCBX in the winter of 2024.
Related Content