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Closure of California’s last nuclear power plant questioned

Closure of California's last nuclear power plant questioned

There are doubts over the planned closure of California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power station following the recent energy crisis. The station currently serves as the state’s largest power supplier, accounting for over 9% of the state’s energy needs. It has the capacity to serve a population of over 3 million residents. 

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The Diablo Canyon power plant started operations in 1985. It was designed at a time when environmental laws were quite loose and nonexistent in some areas. Today, the station is seen as an outdated entity, with its facilities representing everything wrong with the current environmental laws. It is unable to manage its waste properly and is blamed for impacting the groundwater system negatively. The other reason why many want it out is its proximity to earthquake-prone regions.

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The station was planned for closure in 2025, given that it is the last of the nuclear plants that have served the state. However, many officials seem to have changed their minds, considering the grim reality of the state’s preparedness. The state is currently not prepared to supply the amount of energy the station provides from any other source. With targets of reaching net-zero by 2045, closing the plant might be a direct hit to the targets. Some fear that by shutting down the power plant, the state might be forced to go back to fossil fuels.

Among those who are championing for retention of the power plant include energy experts, scientists, and even California governor Gavin Newsom. On the other hand, critiques of such a move say that it would only be a step backward in efforts to go carbon neutral.

California had many nuclear plants doted across the state, but they have been closed down one by one. In 1976, a law was passed banning the construction of new nuclear stations until there was technology to permanently dispose of nuclear waste. As a result, Diabo Canyon has been left as the only standing nuclear power plant in the state.

Diablo Canyon has been a source of controversy for a long time. The debate about its usability and sustainability started long before the plant began operations. There were protests over the establishment of the power plant after accidents such as the Fukushima nuclear accident that caused serious injuries and deaths. However, the plant has also been instrumental in serving California’s power needs. 

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Pexels

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