Rep. Devin Nunes to Introduce Bill to Keep California's Last Nuclear Power Plant Operating

Rep. Devin Nunes to Introduce Bill to Keep California's Last Nuclear Power Plant Operating

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is introducing a bill on Friday to keep California’s last nuclear power plant operating, amid Democrat attempts to push green energy mandates and a sustained energy crisis in the state.

The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, located along the Central Californian coast, produces 2200 megawatts of energy that makes up 10 percent of the state’s energy mix and services more than three million Californians. However, it is slated to retire in 2025 without an affordable replacement, which will likely drive up energy prices even further.

Nunes’s bill, the Clean Energy Protection Act, would require the State of California to issue Diablo Canyon the permits needed to keep nuclear power operating in the state, and direct the appropriate federal agencies to issue permits to allow the plant to develop an additional 8,000 megawatts of next generation nuclear capacity.

Nunes argues that the plant provides a crucial source of reliable, clean baseload energy with zero carbon emissions.

“The Democrats don’t seem to understand that nuclear power is a zero-emission clean energy source. If they’re really trying to stop a climate apocalypse, like they say, then they should be building new nuclear plants all over California. Instead, they’re closing down the last operating nuclear plant,” he said in a statement to Breitbart News on Thursday.

Nunes argues that instead of shutting down the state’s last nuclear power plant, nuclear power could form the backbone of a revitalized California economy that is now besieged with high electricity prices and rolling blackouts.

The bill’s text, obtained in advance by Breitbart News, states that between 2010 and 2020, California’s electricity prices jumped by 39.5 percent — the biggest increase of any state.

In 2020 alone, electricity prices increased by 7.5 percent and became the third highest in the nation, affecting the poorest, the ill and aging, and those on fixed incomes, it said:

More than 800,000 homes and businesses in California lost power in August 2020. One third of California’s energy is imported from other States, and such States may choose to serve their own citizens first as was the case in 2020, leaving Californians in the dark.

State regulators in 2013 closed the San Onofre nuclear power plant that supplied electricity to 1.4 million households. Following the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, CO2 from California-based electricity greenhouse gas generation started increasing.

Former California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order in 2018 that mandated that California achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2045, and California regulators approved the request to shut down both of Diablo Canyon’s nuclear reactors, totaling 2,240 megawatts, when their operating licenses expire in 2024 and 2025.

A report by the Brattle Group found that the nuclear energy industry annually avoids more than 471 million metric tons of carbon emissions, which amounts to over $24 billion in annual savings, the bill said.

“The closure of Diablo Canyon power plant comes at the very time when solar panel prices have already increased 18 percent this year, after years of falling prices,” it said.

In addition, California’s plans to electrify vehicles could raise demand for electricity by 25 percent.

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Kristina Wong