The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said it would conditionally provide Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) with a $1.1 billion grant to help prevent the closure of Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear power plant.
The funding comes from Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) program, a $6 billion fund aimed at supporting the continued operation of U.S. nuclear plants. It was born out of the infrastructure bill signed into law in November 2021. The program allows reactor owners and operators to apply for and bid on credits to support their continued operations.
PG&E filed its application for CNC funding in September 2022, the same day California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law legislation seeking to extend operations at Diablo Canyon for five years beyond its current license expiration in 2025.
The plant would be used as a bridge while renewable energy and other carbon-free resources come online in California.
In October the state authorized a loan of up to $1.4 billion from the Department of Water Resources to PG&E to support extending operations at the plant.
Another U.S. nuclear plant is not expected to get the same support under the CNC program. DOE just rejected a request for funding to reopen the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan, according to plant owner Holtec International.
Holtec bought Palisades in May 2022 to decommission the 805 MW plant and applied for funding from the initial phase of the program. The plant, formerly owned by Entergy, was shut down last Spring after generating electricity for more than 50 years.
Reopening Palisades was supported by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who called it a “top priority” for the state.
We have to reached out to the Energy Department for further explanation of the Palisades funding decision.
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