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The US grants US$1.1bn to keep the 2.2 GW Diablo Canyon nuclear plant open

The US Government has approved a US$1.1bn funding to prevent the scheduled closure of the 2.2 GW Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, operated by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and located in San Luis Obispo, in the US state of California.

This grant represents the first round of funding from the US$6bn Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Programme, which is aimed at supporting the continued operations of nuclear energy facilities in order to achieve the US’ goal of reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. The second CNC award cycle will prioritise reactors that are projected to shut down due to economic factors within the next four years. The Department of Energy (DOE) is set to begin accepting applications for the second cycle in January 2023.

Earlier in November 2022, PG&E submitted a request to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to extend by 5 years the life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which comprises two units (commissioned in 1985 and 1986) that are currently scheduled to be decommissioned in 2024 (Unit 1) and 2025 (Unit 2). The plant supplies about 9% of California’s power.

Nuclear accounted for 19% of the the United States’ total generation in 2021. There are 92 nuclear reactors currently in operation for a total capacity of about 99 GW (2022).

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