Biden administration approves $1.1 billion for California nuclear plant

Biden administration approves $1.1 billion for California nuclear plant

The Biden administration approved conditional funding of up to $1.1 billion to keep the 2,240 megawatt Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California as part of its effort to combat climate change.

The Pacific Gas Electric plant applied for funding under the Department of Energy'sEnergy's $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit program, which aims to keep struggling nuclear power reactors open.

Diablo, which was due to close in 2025, is the last nuclear plant in California.

The Biden administration hopes to decarbonize the power grid by 2035, but believes nuclear power is critical to combatting climate change by keeping plants open before the development of next-generation reactors.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said the grant was a critical step toward ensuring that our domestic nuclear fleet will continue to provide reliable and affordable power to Americans as the nation's largest source of clean electricity.

PG&E Chief Executive Patti Poppe said in an interview with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the company applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to allow Diablo to continue operating.

Critics of the plant, which is next to the Pacific Ocean in San Luis Obispo County, say the region is vulnerable to earthquakes and disposing radioactive nuclear waste will be an ongoing issue.

PG&E spokeswoman Suzanne Hosn said Diablo can withstand extreme natural events, including potential earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding.