WASHINGTON D.C.: As part of its effort to combat climate change, the Biden administration said it has approved conditional funding of up to $1.1 billion to keep the 2,240-Megawatt Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California open.
The Pacific Gas & Electric plant applied for funding under the Department of Energy's $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit program, which aims to help keep struggling nuclear power reactors open.
Diablo, which was set to fully close in 2025, is the last operating nuclear plant in California.
The Biden administration seeks 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.
The grant was a "critical step toward ensuring that our domestic nuclear fleet will continue providing reliable and affordable power to Americans as the nation's largest source of clean electricity," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.
In an interview with Reuters, PG&E Chief Executive Patti Poppe said that the company applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to allow Diablo to continue operating.
Critics of maintaining the operations of the plant, located 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.
In response, PG&E spokesperson Suzanne Hosn said Diablo can "safely withstand extreme natural events, including potential earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding."