Infrastructure Funding Keeps Diablo Canyon Open

Infrastructure Funding Keeps Diablo Canyon Open

After rolling blackouts rocked California in 2020, the state planned to close its last nuclear plant, the Diablo Canyon facility. However, the federal government saved the plant from closure with a billion-dollar award. The federal funding will keep hundreds of members of  Local 1245 on the job, providing electricity to San Luis Obispo. 

Local 1245 Business Manager Bob Dean says if Diablo Canyon had closed, the loss of clean power produced there would have upped greenhouse gas emissions and stressed the grid even more. California understood this, too. Without the plant, the state could not deliver reliable electricity or meet its climate goals. Though it’s not well-known, America’s nuclear fleet is the nation’s largest source of carbon-free power. 

“Diablo Canyon is California’s largest clean and safe baseload energy source. Our long-standing position is that operating Diablo Canyon into the future is the right thing for our communities and economy,” says Dean.

Along with Gov. Gavin Newsom, Dean and Assistant Business Manager Hunter Stern lobbied the state for years to keep the plant open. The DOE’s $1.1 billion award finally saved the day. The money came from the Civil Nuclear Credit program created by President Joe Biden’s 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program protects good-paying clean energy jobs by keeping nuclear facilities safe, reliable, and operating.  

“Diablo Canyon is one of the largest job creators in the area,” Dean said. “Plus, the plant’s tax base helps fund everything from public safety to schools and plays a key role in the region’s economic stability.”

Stern says the money will be used to make improvements that were put off when the plant was expected to close. “Now they are making investments, and Local 639 construction members are being dispatched for outages and maintenance work,” says Stern. The plant employs more than 1,150 workers.

Photo caption: Local 1245 members lobbied the state legislature to keep Diablo Canyon open.

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