TMI Update: Jan 14, 2024


Did you catch "The Meltdown: Three Mile Island" on Netflix?
TMI remains a danger and TMIA is working hard to ensure the safety of our communities and the surrounding areas.
Learn more on this site and support our efforts. Join TMIA. To contact the TMIA office, call 717-233-7897.

    

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 24-013 February 20, 2024
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200
 
NRC Proposes to Amend Licensing, Inspection, and Annual Fees for Fiscal Year 2024

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the licensing, inspection, special projects, and annual fees it will charge applicants and licensees for fiscal year 2024.
 
The proposed fee rule, published today in the Federal Register, is based on the FY 2024 Congressional Budget Justification as a full-year appropriation has not yet been enacted. The final rule will be based on the NRC’s actual appropriation, and the agency will update the final fee schedule as appropriate. The NRC’s proposed FY 2024 budget is approximately $1.01 billion. The agency would use $27.1 million in carryover funds, making the total budget authority used in the FY 2024 proposed fee rule $979.2 million, an increase of $52.1 million from FY 2023.
 
Under the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, the NRC is required to recover approximately 100 percent of its total budget authority in FY 2024, except funds for specific excluded activities.
 
After accounting for the exclusions from the fee recovery requirement and net billing adjustments, the NRC must recover approximately $825.7 million in fees in FY 2024. Of this amount, the NRC estimates that $205.5 million will be recovered through service fees under 10 CFR Part 170 and $620.2 million through annual fees under 10 CFR Part 171.
 
Compared to FY 2023, the proposed annual fees would decrease for the operating power reactors fee class. This fee does not exceed the cap established by NEIMA. The proposed annual fees would increase for fuel facilities, spent fuel storage/reactor decommissioning activities, non- power production or utilization facilities, transportation activities for the U.S. Department of Energy, the non-DOE uranium recovery licensee, the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act Program, and all materials users fee categories.
 
The proposed fee rule includes several other changes affecting licensees and applicants. The NRC proposes to increase the hourly rate for services from $300 to $321 for FY 2024, and license application fees would be adjusted accordingly. In addition, the proposed rule would amend NRC’s payment methods to align with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s “No-Cash No-Check” policy, to remove paper forms of payment and provide that payments be made electronically using the methods accepted at www.pay.gov.
 
The proposed rule includes detailed instructions on how to submit written comments. Comments will be accepted through March 21.
 
Screenshot 2024-02-08 at 3.03.37 PM.png
IACHR GRANTS THEMATIC HEARING ON IMPACTS TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ 
HUMAN RIGHTS FROM URANIUM EXPLOITATION
 
Historic Hearing to be Held in Washington, D.C.
Weds, Feb. 28th at 11am EST/9am MST
 
What: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Thematic Hearing
 
Where: IACHR/OAS, 1889 F St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006
 
When: Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 11am EST/9am MST
 
Who: Members of the Navajo Nation, Ute Nation and Oglala Lakota Nation will testify
 
Why: Impacts of Uranium Exploitation on the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States
 
How to attend: In-person at IACHR/Organization of American States (OAS) located at 1889 F St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006 or watch online
on IACHR’s website https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/sessions/?S=189 or on the IACHR YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/@comisionIDH
 
This is a historic moment because it is the first time a thematic hearing has been granted to Native communities in the U.S. on this issue; it is the first time that any aspect of the U.S.'s nuclear policy has been heard before the IACHR and one of the rare times the U.S. government has been called to answer for the human rights impacts of its nuclear policy in any human rights forum.
 
In a decision that coincides with a disturbing uptick in uranium development activity, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has agreed to hold a "thematic" hearing on how U.S. uranium exploitation policies have resulted in human rights abuses in Indigenous communities across the country.
 
As the United States doubles down on the misguided notion that nuclear power is a solution to the climate crisis, the uranium development industry is beginning to benefit from generous taxpayer giveaways to the nuclear industry as a whole.  Subsidies from the Biden administration have spurred uranium mining production to restart in at least 3 mines in the last few months, in Utah, Wyoming, and in Arizona near the Grand Canyon. As has been the case since the dawn of the Atomic Age, the impacts of uranium mining are largely left out of the debate over nuclear power.
 
The thematic hearing will allow Native communities who have lived for generations with the waste from historic uranium mining and milling to hold U.S. government officials to account in a public forum for the government’s failure to address waste from uranium development in any meaningful way. 
 
●      Red Water Pond Road Community Association members Edith Hood & Teracita Keyanna from the Navajo Nation will testify about how the federal government has for generations ignored the public health, environmental and cultural crises uranium development has caused in their communities. 
 
●      Yolanda Badback, White Mesa Concerned Community, a member of a Ute Mountain Ute tribe will testify about how state and federal officials have refused to listen to their concerns about the uranium mill in their community. 
 
●      Tonia Stands, Magpie Buffalo Organizing, an Oglala Lakota community member, will testify about the difficulties of living under the threat of new uranium mining, while legacy waste remains unaddressed.
 
In addition to community testimony, the U.S. government will have the opportunity to respond, and the Commission will have the opportunity to ask community members and government officials questions. 
 
The thematic hearing will be held on February 28 in Washington, D.C. The hearing will be live-streamed on IACHR’s website and YouTube channel.
 
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is a principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere. It is composed of seven independent members who serve in a personal capacity. Created by the OAS in 1959, the Commission has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Together with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, installed in 1979, the Commission is one of the institutions within the inter-American system for the protection of human rights.
 
Jonathan Perry, Coordinator, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, said, “"This is a major opportunity for frontline Indigenous communities to come forward to document the injustices they continue to endure. The legacy of the uranium mining industry continues to impact many Indigenous people across the continent without any real solutions from the US government.  We must acknowledge the negative results of nuclear and uranium development in our communities. We must also shed light on the lack of priority in providing real solutions in clean-up of uranium mining and milling waste by federal regulatory agencies. This Thematic Hearing would document the consequences of the U.S. government in their continued violations of human rights within their own policies and regulations."
 
Edith Hood, President, Red Water Pond Road Community Association, said, “Nahasdzáán ShimáMother Earth—provides everything we need to  keep us alive—the four things we Navajos talk about —air, water, soil, and light—and it is our home. We have been living with this silent killer without knowing the dangers. Once the mining started, after the drilling, we didn’t realize we were being contaminated. We didn’t understand what we couldn’t see, smell or touch. When we were children playing and herding sheep we didn’t understand we were being exposed to dangerous radiation. I worked for a few years at the Kerr McGee Mine but the officials said we were in no danger. After the mining we really started to notice the problem, the health issues and concerns. Cancer and breathing problems especially in children and childhood diseases were becoming prevalent. Multiple family members started having liver issues.  We found out our soil was contaminated in 2003. 21 years later and we are still at it with nothing happening. There have been generational impacts from the uranium  industry. We thank the IACHR commissioners for listening to us, when our own tribal government doesn’t listen to us. The Tribal government put us at this risk but never came back to check on the people and the land.”
 
Larry King, ENDAUM, said, “We only have one Mother Earth, and as stewards, we ALL have a responsibility to protect Mother Earth if we are to leave a healthy environment for our future generations to benefit from.”
 
Eric Jantz, Legal Director, New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), said, “For decades, the U.S. government’s dismal human rights record related to uranium exploitation in indigenous communities has been overlooked, ignored and suppressed.  This will be the first time the U.S. government has been called on to explain why U.S. uranium policy continues to destroy native communities.” 
 
For more information:
 
Eric Jantz, Legal Director, New Mexico Environmental Law Center, (505) 980-5239, ejantz@nmelc.org
 
 
Jonathan Perry, Coordinator, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE), (505) 979-1027, jperry@swuraniumimpacts.org
 
 
--
Susan Schuurman
She/her or They/them
Communications Manager
New Mexico Environmental Law Center
722 Isleta Blvd. SW
Albuquerque, NM 87105
"Stay safe, stay well, raise hell"
EASTHAM: THIS WEEK'S CURRENTS

Meetings Ahead
BY  

Most meetings are being held in person, but some are still remote or virtual. Go to eastham-ma.gov/calendar-by-event-type/16 and click on the meeting you are interested in to learn about meeting locations and any remote options that may be offered.

Thursday, Sept. 16

  • Affordable Housing Trust, 11 a.m., virtual
  • Housing Authority, 4 p.m., Small Meeting Room, Eastham Rec. Dept.
  • T-Time Committee Public Forum, 5 p.m., virtual

Monday, Sept. 20

  • Strategic Planning Committee, 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 21

  • Historical Commission workshop, 10:30 a.m., Public Library
  • Elementary School Committee, 4 p.m.
  • T-Time Development Committee, 5 p.m., Town Hall

Wednesday, Sept. 22

  • T-Time Committee Public Forum #2, 5 p.m., Salt Pond Visitor Center Amphitheater

Conversation Starters

Vacancies in the Firehouse

At the select board’s meeting this past Monday, Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe announced the retirement of Fire Chief Kent Farrenkopf. His retirement comes after nearly six years as Eastham chief and more than 37 years in total service. Beebe said she is heartbroken about the news and left his letter on her desk for two days before reading it. She called Farrenkopt a “very fine chief.”

Chief Farrenkopf will be replaced by Deputy Chief Dan Keene, who was hired in 2018.

The town now has three openings in the firehouse following two other recent resignations. Beebe said one of the departures was for personal reasons while another department employee is moving out of state.

Select board chair Arthur Autorino asked whether Beebe thought the search would be successful. “I’ve heard they’re very hard to fill, these openings,” he said. Beebe responded that it’s a difficult job and a “long haul” for anyone looking to become certified. Applicants must be certified EMTs or paramedics, complete the Entry Level Firefighter I and I certification, and attend the Mass. Fire Academy, according to the job description.

Assistant Town Administrator and Finance Director Rich Bienvenue called the openings a “long-term problem” affecting the entire town across departments. Select board member Jamie Demetri agreed, saying she felt the issue was larger than simply filling the positions in the present moment but rather that “people who work for the town can’t afford to live in the town.” —Cam Blair

With Washington poised to pick up the annual $300M subsidy, residents and commercial customers will see smaller monthly electric bills


Credit: (peretzp via Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)
More on the nuclear subsidies


READ ALSO
Will feds cover some costs of keeping NJ’s nuclear plants open?


READ ALSO
Ratepayers remain on hook for nuclear subsidies — for now


READ ALSO
PSEG says without $300M ratepayer nuclear subsidy, it will close South Jersey plants

The Hope Creek nuclear power-generating plant in Salem County

An unpopular surcharge on every New Jersey utility customer’s monthly bill — amounting to $70 annually for the typical homeowner and much more for manufacturers — will end next year when the state eliminates a $300 million annual subsidy aimed to keep its three nuclear plants from closing. 


 

The state Board of Public Utilities on Wednesday adopted an order directing the utilities to stop collecting the surcharge, effective June 1, 2025. The subsidy, enacted in 2019 after a bitter legislative fight, has raised about a half-billion dollars thus far, for Public Service Enterprise Group and Constellation Energy, the owners of the units in South Jersey. 

The energy companies had submitted applications to the BPU to continue the surcharge for another three years but decided to withdraw from the process in late November. No one else applied for the subsidy, dubbed zero-emission certificates (ZECs), leading the agency to cancel a third round of any ratepayer-supported subsidies. 

Feds to pick up tab  

PSEG and Constellation are expected to replace the subsidy with federally funded production tax credits (PTCs) created by Congress and the Biden administration. In a statement, PSEG said while the rules from the U.S. Treasury Department still have not been issued, the company is confident that the PTC will proceed as intended and sufficiently support the nuclear generating units. 

 

The three nuclear plants — Salem I, Salem II, and Hope Creek — are an integral part of the Murphy administration’s clean-energy plan, providing 30% of the carbon-free electricity in the state. If they stopped operating, New Jersey would never achieve its aggressive goals of cutting carbon pollution by 80% below 2006 levels by 2050, according to state officials. 

‘This wasn’t needed. Now, with federal dollars kicking in, it should end sooner and give ratepayers a break.’ — Jeff Tittel, longtime environmental activist 

PSEG won the subsidies in 2019 after a long legislative battle that began during the Christie administration and was achieved early in Gov. Phil Murphy’s term. PSEG repeatedly threatened to close the plants, which employ more than 6,000 people, if state aid was not forthcoming.

 

In withdrawing their applications, the companies are counting on winning lucrative production tax credits from the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, a law passed by Congress in 2021. The tax credits are expected to be available sometime this year. 

Big bills for big businesses  

Currently, the surcharge amounts to roughly $70 a year for typical residential customers but can run as much as tens of thousands of dollars or much more for businesses that use a lot of energy. At the time the surcharge was adopted, at least six nuclear plants had shut down, unable to compete with cheaper sources of electricity, primarily natural gas. 

The surcharge was widely supported by major business groups and many prominent environmental organizations, primarily as nuclear was the largest source of zero-emission electricity at the time. 

Dennis Hart, executive director of the Chemistry Industry Council of New Jersey, noted manufacturers pay an added $78,000 to $586,000 because of the surcharge.

At the same time, the Division of Rate Counsel, an independent monitor for the regional power grid, and consumer advocates argued unsuccessfully that the plants were profitable and did not need any subsidy, a stance endorsed by a consultant hired by the BPU. The agency nevertheless approved an initial three-year subsidy, followed by a second one in 2021.

Jeff Tittel, a longtime environmental activist who was president of the state’s Sierra Club at the time, said the ZEC program should have never been approved.

“This wasn’t needed. Now, with federal dollars kicking in, it should end sooner and give ratepayers a break,’’ he said. 

The board had no comment on Wednesday in cancelling the third round of funding for ZECs.  

The right time for a rate reduction  

But the pending cut in utility bills is viewed by many as a positive step, given a series of rate increases approved by the agency as part of the clean-energy transition and push to modernize the power grid. 

‘It’s very good news,’’ said Brian Lipman, director of the Division of Rate Counsel a vocal critic of rising electric and gas bills. “For three years, this surcharge will fall off customers’ bills and hopefully will stay off.’’ 

In its order, the BPU left the door open for a fourth eligibility period to qualify for ZECs, beginning June 1, 2028 and ending May 31, 2031. “Who knows what happens three years from now? Who knows if the nuclear plants need subsidies or not?’’ asked Lipman. 

PSEG noted it would revisit the need for ZECs if federal support for the industry is insufficient. 

Dennis Hart, executive director of the Chemistry Industry Council of New Jersey, noted manufacturers pay an added $78,000 to $586,000 because of the surcharge. “These rates are unsustainable, and the reductions will go a long way towards maintaining the important jobs and economic benefits of manufacturing in New Jersey,’’ he said. 

Under state law, any money received from the federal government is to be used to offset the cost of the ratepayer surcharge, if both are awarded at the same time. There is $30 billion available under the federal production tax credit. 

Rich Henning, president of the New Jersey Utilities Association, said this is what many energy officials have been seeking for some time. “From a standpoint of customers, utilities and power companies, it is a win all the way around,’’ he said. 

“It highlights the federal support for nuclear power,’’ said Paul Patterson, an energy analyst at Glenrock Associates. 

In the meantime, energy rates continue to rise elsewhere. The BPU approved an $85 million increase in revenue for Jersey Central Power & Light, a step that will raise bills for its customers by an average of $4 a month per homeowner. In addition, New Jersey Natural Gas filed a $225 million rate petition with the BPU, which will, if approved, raise rates by $29 a month. 

Logo</p>
<p>Description automatically generatedThe PA House Archives is proud to open its 2024 exhibit, “Accident at Three Mile Island: Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Response to Disaster,” with an official opening for Members, staff, and the public, on Wednesday, February 21st from 10:00 to 4:00. Light refreshments will be available.


March 2024 is the 45th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. Visitors will learn about the events leading up to and following the accident, how local Representatives responded to constituents, and more about how the event has been remembered locally and nationally since 1979.


Featured items include documents from the special committee created by the House in the aftermath of the accident and clean up. Other displayed items are on loan from neighboring archival institutions (Dickinson College, Penn State Harrisburg, and Historical Society of Dauphin County) such as vinyl records, mugs, bumper stickers, and more!


The PA House Archives is in 628 Irvis Office Building, Capitol Complex.  The exhibit will be on display for the remainder of 2024.  We hope to see you there!

 

Jesse Teitelbaum | Director of Archives
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
628 Irvis Office Building | Harrisburg PA 17120

 

Federal money could supercharge state efforts to preserve nuclear power
A plant in Michigan might become the first to reopen after closing.
 
BY:  - FEBRUARY 12, 2024 5:00 AM

A nuclear plant on Lake Michigan.
The Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan will reportedly be awarded a $1.5 billion federal loan, aimed at restarting operations after a 2022 closure. The federal funding could bolster state efforts to keep nuclear power on the grid, as leaders seek to transition to carbon-free electricity. Courtesy of The Herald-Palladium

In the coming years, a nuclear power plant on the shores of Lake Michigan could become the first in the country to restart operations after shutting down.

The Palisades plant in southwest Michigan could be revived by a $1.5 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, Bloomberg reported. Federal officials have not yet confirmed the funding, but Dr. Kathryn Huff, assistant secretary in the agency’s Office of Nuclear Energy, told Stateline that it would be “exciting” and “historic” to see the plant return to life.

The potential federal investment comes as state leaders in Michigan and elsewhere have worked to preserve their nuclear power capacity. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer successfully pushed for $150 million in state funding last year to support the Palisades restart. The plant is owned by Florida-based Holtec International, which bought it in 2022 to decommission it.

Reviving the plant “is really significant to make sure we can meet our clean-energy goals,” said Kara Cook, chief of staff with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “This is really important to us not only from a climate perspective, but also the economic impact on the region.”

As states seek to transition to carbon-free electricity, some leaders acknowledge their climate change goals may be out of reach if they can’t keep their nuclear plants online. Nuclear has struggled to compete on cost with other power sources — while also facing concerns about safety risks and radioactive waste — but it provides 18% of the nation’s electricity. The closure of nuclear plants, some state officials fear, could lead to an expansion of fossil fuel-powered replacements, worsening the climate problem.


“You’re starting to see a lot of states transition to a position where they’re supportive of nuclear,” said Todd Allen, chair of the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences department at the University of Michigan. “And compared to 30 years ago, the amount of federal support for nuclear is unbelievable.”

California also received a boost of federal money in an award finalized last month to keep open a nuclear plant run by Pacific Gas and Electric, known as PG&E. Other states, including Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey, have passed legislation in recent years to provide subsidies for existing nuclear plants.

Huff, the federal energy official, said U.S. nuclear production may need to reach 200 gigawatts — roughly double the current capacity — to provide clean, “always-on” power as less-constant solar and wind provide a growing share of the nation’s electricity. Last year, the Biden administration committed to an international pledge to triple nuclear capacity by 2050.

“We’re still going to need a significant amount of nuclear to back that all up,” she told Stateline. “Keeping existing plants online is the easiest way to ensure nuclear power can back up renewables.”

Meanwhile, both red and blue states have taken steps to allow for the development of small modular reactors, an emerging technology that backers say can help to power rural areas or industrial operations without the demands of a large plant. Six states — Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Montana, West Virginia and Wisconsin — recently repealed bans on adding new nuclear power, in part to enable such reactors.

You’re starting to see a lot of states transition to a position where they’re supportive of nuclear.

– Todd Allen, chair of the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences department at the University of Michigan

While some environmental groups have embraced the nuclear investments, others have pointed to long-standing concerns about safety issues, citing infamous accidents such as those at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Opponents also note the long-term issue of radioactive waste storage, and in some cases assert that nuclear can stall the growth of renewables such as wind and solar.

“With the amount of money that’s gone into this [Palisades] restart scheme already, you could develop brand-new renewable energy proposals that would be online in the same time frame producing more electricity,” said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear, an environmental nonprofit that opposes nuclear energy.

While more states have passed policies to give nuclear a boost, federal funding in Michigan and elsewhere could supercharge efforts to ensure plants stay open. The Department of Energy is distributing $6 billion from the federal infrastructure law to help save reactors that were slated for closure. The agency awarded funding to the California plant in the first round but has not yet announced awardees from the second round, although applications closed last May.

The agency also is overseeing a loan program — which reportedly will provide the Palisades funding — to repower or repurpose energy infrastructure.

The Department of Energy is distributing $6 billion to help save reactors that were slated for closure.

The federal climate law passed in 2022 also opened tax credits for new and existing nuclear plants, designed to incentivize clean energy production in the same way existing credits support wind and solar. Since the passage of the tax credits, Huff said, federal regulators have seen an increased interest from plant operators pursuing license renewals to extend the operating life of their reactors.

Meanwhile, the CHIPS and Science Act passed by Congress also includes funding for federal nuclear research, university programs, new research reactors, isotope production and advanced reactors.

The federal support is providing “huge stimulation” to nuclear power while working in tandem with existing state efforts, said Christine Csizmadia, senior director of state governmental affairs and advocacy with the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry trade association.

Michigan reboot

When Palisades closed amid financial struggles in 2022, it represented roughly 5% of Michigan’s electricity supply. That has been replaced largely with natural gas generation, Cook said. The expansion of fossil fuel-based power conflicts with legislation passed last year requiring the state to move to 100% clean energy by 2040.

So when the plant’s new owner, Holtec International, announced that it was aiming to bringing the 800-megawatt plant back online, state leaders were on board. The company plans to add a pair of small modular reactors to the existing plant, bringing its capacity to 1,400 megawatts — enough to power more than a million homes. Holtec did not respond to interview requests, but company spokesperson Nick Culp told Reuters the company expects the plant to have full power operation by the end of 2025.

The $150 million in last year’s Michigan state budget to support the plant’s restart will help pay for fuel purchases and infrastructure upgrades, Cook said. Whitmer has requested an additional $150 million in this year’s budget to help bring Palisades online.

“This is really an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said Cook, citing the hundreds of union jobs that could return to the region if the plant reopens. She said the state funding was critical to show both Holtec and federal officials that there was strong support in Michigan to save Palisades. Holtec has said it could employ about 520 people at the plant.

States’ support

In recent years, many states have provided financial support to struggling nuclear plants, made nuclear eligible for clean energy credits or repealed long-standing bans on the construction of new reactors.

“We’ve seen this incredible uptick of nuclear energy legislation,” said Csizmadia, with the nuclear trade association.

Huff, the federal official, noted that several of the states that recently repealed bans on new nuclear power have many coal-dependent communities that could be “left behind” if their coal plants retire. Backers of nuclear, especially the emerging small modular reactor technology, believe old coal plants could be revived to put existing infrastructure to use in service of nuclear power and bring back high-wage jobs.

Nuclear electricity production across the country has been relatively stagnant for two decades, with plants struggling to compete with lower-cost options such as natural gas. Construction of new reactors has almost completely stopped amid regulatory hurdles and spiking project costs.
 

Opponents of nuclear point to the canceled projects, delays and cost overruns as proof that nuclear isn’t viable.

“This is just throwing good money after bad,” said Kamps, the anti-nuclear advocate. “We stand horrified at the actions being taken by Congress and certain state governments.”

Kamps also cited previous nuclear disasters and warned of the risks of extending aging plants.

But as states look to clean up their energy grids, some leaders say they can’t afford to lose their nuclear power.

“A lot of people believe we can power California with renewables alone and batteries,” said Carl Wurtz, executive director of Fission Transition, a pro-nuclear advocacy group. “We’re going to be tied to natural gas indefinitely if we try to do it that way.”

Wurtz was among the advocates who pushed California to extend the life of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which had been scheduled to close in 2025. He and others argued that the loss of the plant’s 2,240 megawatts — 9% of California’s electricity — would force the state to import more power generated from fossil fuels.

As with the Michigan plant, state leaders in California, including Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, successfully lobbied the feds for money to keep Diablo Canyon open. Last month, the Department of Energy finalized a $1.1 billion payout to extend the plant’s operations. That followed a vote from state regulators to push the plant’s shutdown date back to 2030.

Supporters of nuclear say it’s a necessary complement to wind and solar because of the reliability it provides.

“We need baseload power that runs 24/7,” said Lisa Marshall, vice president of the American Nuclear Society and assistant extension professor with the North Carolina State University Department of Nuclear Engineering. “If we’re going to make [carbon-free electricity] happen, nuclear has to be part of that mix.”

The California plant is still awaiting the renewal of its license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. PG&E did not respond to an interview request.

France's EDF shuts down two nuclear reactors after fire at Chinon plant
Nuclear energy operator EDF has shut down two reactors at Chinon in western France after a fire in a non-nuclear sector of the plant in the early hours of Saturday, the company said.

 
 
The 100 Year Canister Life Act aims to double nuclear waste storage lifespan to 100 years, ensuring safety and security for communities.

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