Cunningham and two pro-nuclear organizations who support his amendment think its passage would make Diablo Canyon worth as much as $3.6 billion. A statement from Cunningham’s office said prolonging the life of Diablo Canyon would help the state fulfill its climate goals and “provide ratepayers with a cheap and constant source of energy for decades to come.”
But John Geesman, an attorney for the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, an anti-nuclear nonprofit, viewed the amendment as an attempt to prop up Diablo Canyon’s finances and said it had little chance of garnering the support it needs in the Legislature and electorate.
“That’s two mountains they’re probably incapable of climbing, realistically,” Geesman said. “The public just doesn’t want this stuff.”
PG&E spokeswoman Lynsey Paulo said the company would review the proposed amendment.
“PG&E is deeply committed to helping the state reach its clean energy goals in a way that manages costs for customers, ensures electric reliability and gas safety that they expect and deserve and creates a model program for others to follow,” she said.
Paulo called the existing plan to decommission the nuclear plant a “significant milestone in planning to meet California’s bold clean energy visions” and said PG&E would “continue to focus on safely running Diablo Canyon to the end of its current licenses.”
If passed, the amendment would make nuclear energy part of California’s renewables portfolio standard, which requires utilities to purchase certain amounts of clean power. The amendment would also bar the Legislature from enacting any future energy law that is not “technology neutral,” including with respect to large hydroelectric dams, which are also not currently classified as renewable.
“Future generations — and present ratepayers — deserve nothing less than an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to fighting climate change,” Cunningham said in the statement from his office.