Op-Ed: California needs to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant open to meet its climate goals
The plan to shutdown California's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant by 2025 cites the need for ambitious reductions in carbon emissions amid a changing climate and the shortage of clean power sources. However, Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz, both former US secretary of energy, argue the need revisit this decision and to preserve the plant as part of a larger decarbonisation strategy as the planet faces record temperatures, drought and wildfire destruction. Pointing to an MIT-Stanford study, they encourage critics to consider the potential of repurposing the plant to produce clean hydrogen fuel as well as power sources for water desalination. The collaborative study was co-authored by Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab director John Lienhard and reassessed Diablo Canyon’s potential value for helping California meet the challenges of climate change by providing clean, safe and reliable electricity as well as potentially powering water desalination and hydrogen fuel production.
The researchers found that an inclusive strategy that preserves the clean electricity from Diablo Canyon will augment new energy generation from renewables and other sources of clean power. Keeping the plant running until 2035 will cut carbon emissions by 11% annually, save ratepayers billions of dollars, and alleviate the need to develop vast amounts of land for renewable energy resources. This is essential in the larger fight against climate change and its effects.