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Diablo Canyon

CATF President Armond Cohen urges California lawmakers to keep Diablo Canyon open

August 26, 2022 Work Area: Advanced Nuclear

Today, CATF President Armond Cohen joined climate and clean energy advocates (and former nuclear opponents) Charles Komanoff and Stewart Brand to urge Governor Gavin Newsom and California legislators to exercise their governing authority to ensure the continued safe operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear energy plant, California’s largest single source of carbon-free electricity production.  

In a joint letter, they state: 

“Shutting Diablo Canyon will consign the next big waves of renewable energy in the state to standing in for Diablo’s clean power, keeping them from replacing climate-killing fossil fuels. This needless bulge in our state’s carbon emissions will persist until every kilowatt on the West Coast comes from zero- or ultra-low-carbon sources – which will take decades….No one can deny that letting existing, well-functioning reactors like Diablo Canyon remain in service keeps fossil fuels in the ground and their carbon emissions out of our atmosphere. We ignore that benefit at our peril.” 

Read the full letter here

The letter comes as Governor Newsom and the California legislature weigh passing legislation to keep Diablo Canyon open before the August 31st close of the legislative session, with an eye toward energy security and reducing the risk of blackouts, as well as achieving the state’s climate goals.  

In March of 2021, Clean Air Task Force and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) convened three groups of energy system experts to model California’s electricity system to determine how the state might achieve its 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045 goal. Groups from Princeton University, Stanford University, and Energy and Environmental Economics (E3), a San Francisco-based consulting firm, each ran separate models that sought to estimate not only how much electricity would cost under a variety of scenarios, but also the physical implications of building the decarbonized grid. Despite distinct approaches to the calculations, all the models yielded very similar conclusions that it is risky to rely on solar and wind to do the job alone, and that some source of clean firm power such as nuclear energy will be needed to hit California’s goals. Read that report here

Similarly, a newer study out from the Brattle Group found that extending operations at the Diablo Canyon would significantly reduce emissions and natural gas use, and accelerate progress toward the state’s ambitious clean energy goals. You can find that here

Clean Air Task Force supports the creation of a normal, functional global R&D, commercial, regulatory, and social environment in which nuclear energy can make a significant contribution to managing climate change and advanced technologies can be realized and deployed to market. Learn more about why CATF supports the use of nuclear energy within a broader suite of decarbonization technologies.  

Press Contact

Troy Shaheen, Communications Director, U.S., [email protected], +1 845-750-1189

About Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world. Visit and follow @cleanaircatf.

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