RadWaste Monitor Vol. 15 No. 23
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RadWaste Monitor
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June 09, 2022

Diablo Canyon ‘full speed ahead’ on decommissioning despite Newsom’s pleas, exec says

By Benjamin Weiss

SUMMERLIN, NEV. — There are no plans to keep Diablo Canyon Power Plant operating beyond 2024 or 2025, even as the governor of California presses the federal government to open up its multi-billion dollar nuclear plant bailout program to the plant, a Pacific Gas & Electric executive said here this week.

“The bottom line is, there’s a lot of stuff in the news, but it hasn’t changed any of our planning,” said Maureen Zawalick, vice president of business and technical services at Diablo Canyon operator Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), during a panel at Exchange Monitor’s Decommissioning Strategy Forum Tuesday. “We are full steam ahead on decommissioning.”

Plans to dismantle the San Luis Obispo County, Calif., plant have been on the books for “a couple of years,” Zawalick said. “We can’t slow down on that. We have scheduled milestones and [requests for proposals] that need to get out.”

Zawalick’s comments come as the Department of Energy said last week that it was reviewing a request from California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to loosen some restrictions in its roughly $6 billion civil nuclear credits program to make Diablo Canyon eligible for a bailout. Newsom on May 23 asked DOE to undo a restriction in its April guidelines preventing nuclear plants that use  cost-of-service regulation ratemaking schemes from bidding on credits.

The civil nuclear credits program, funded in November’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, directs DOE to allocate credits to nuclear plant operators over a five-year period, at around $1.2 billion per year. The agency in May extended the deadline for its first round of bidding, currently restricted to nuclear plants facing imminent closure, to July 5.

Meanwhile, PG&E in April selected Orano USA to oversee spent fuel management at the plant once it goes dark.

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