Jordan Cunningham announces plan to keep Diablo Canyon open

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Central Coast Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham has announced his intention to introduce a bill aimed at keeping Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant operational, which is currently slated to shut down by 2025. 

Cunningham’s plan also includes a proposal that PG&E sell the nuclear plant and give $1 billion of the proceeds to wildfire victims. Another $300 million of proceeds from a potential sale of Diablo Canyon would go to wildfire prevention through hardening of the electrical grid, under Cunningham’s proposal.

In January, Cunningham will introduce a bill that would classify nuclear power as renewable under the states Renewable Portfolio Standard, the assemblyman said. 

Cunningham has previously attempted to achieve the reclassification of nuclear power through a constitutional amendment. Earlier this year, Cunningham introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that would include nuclear and large-scale hydropower in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

The assemblyman’s new proposal would mandate the California Public Utility Commission (PUC) not approve a PG&E bankruptcy or settlement plan that does not include an initiative to continue the operation of the nuclear power plant. Additionally, the bill would require at least $1 billion and $300 million of the proceeds from a potential sale of the plant go to fire victims and wildfire prevention respectively.

“Californians deserve an all-of-the-above approach to fighting climate change. Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, an emission-free source of electricity that supplies the state with 9 percent of its power, needs to be a part of the answer,” Cunningham said in a statement. “PG&E and the bankruptcy court should be looking at creative ways to raise the type of capital necessary to pay fire victims. There’s no reason for a bankrupt utility with billions of dollars in liabilities to shut down a perfectly safe and profitable source of emission-free electricity.”