Civics: redistributed taxpayer funds for a California Nuclear Power Plant

Sammy Roth:

The $1.1 billion in federal money comes from the infrastructure law passed by Congress and signed by President Biden last year. It should allow PG&E to pay back most of the $1.4-billion loan for Diablo that state lawmakers approved at Newsom’s urging. 

That state money is slated to help PG&E cover the costs of relicensing at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as maintenance, fuel purchases and additional on-site storage for radioactive waste needed to keep the plant running past 2025.

Final terms of the federal grant still need to be negotiated with PG&E. Officials at the U.S. Department of Energy say the money will be distributed over four years, from 2023 through 2026. The funds are designed to cover PG&E’s projected losses from keeping Diablo Canyon open longer, so if the company’s operating costs come in lower than expected — or its power-sales revenues are higher than expected — it won’t get quite as much federal money.

If the plant fails to secure its federal license renewal — or any of the state permits it needs to keep operating — the funding spigot will be shut off.