California’s Last Nuclear Plant Should Stay Open, PG&E CEO Says

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Patti Poppe in Stanford on April 3.

California should consider keeping its last nuclear power plant — Diablo Canyon — running past its planned closure in 2030, according to PG&E Corp. Chief Executive Officer Patti Poppe.

“Nuclear should be part of the future,” Poppe told a Stanford University forum on Wednesday. 

Patti Poppe in Stanford on April 3.Photographer: Loren Elliott/Bloomberg

Governor Gavin Newsom and the state legislature previously agreed to a five-year extension for the PG&E plant — which had been scheduled to retire next year — to prevent blackouts as many of the state’s older, gas-fired facilities shut down. While that decision delighted nuclear advocates, it has been opposed by many environmentalists.

“I expect there will be conversations, as the five-year window comes nearer and nearer, that maybe we should extend that further,” Poppe said at Stanford’s Business, Government and Society Forum. “I think that would be a good policy, to utilize a safe, high-performing asset for the state.”

California has moved aggressively to transition to renewable power but its heavy dependence on solar plants leaves it vulnerable to outages on hot summer evenings after the sun goes down. 

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

By David R. Baker


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