California's Diablo Canyon Power Plant will receive a $1.1 billion federal award to help enable the plant to keep providing nuclear energy.
The award is funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law's Civil Nuclear Credit Program, which is investing $6 billion to maintain nuclear reactors across the country.
The award was announced Monday by the U.S. Department of Energy.
California Gov. Gavin Newsome has been an adamant supporter of clean energy initiatives in his state. He said the award will have a significant impact on keeping a major nuclear energy source online.
"Amid intensifying climate impacts in the West and across the country, California is focused on meeting our bold climate and clean energy goals while tackling the challenges of extreme weather that puts lives at risk and strains our grid," Newsom said in a statement. "This investment creates a path forward for a limited-term extension of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant to support reliability statewide and provide an onramp for more clean energy projects to come online."
Diablo Canyon was on the path to retirement when its licenses with Pacific Gas and Electric expire in 2024 and 2025. The plant generates about 15% of California's clean energy and supports 1,500 jobs.
Like Newsom, President Joe Biden has held a steadfast focus on a shift toward renewable energy and limiting emissions. He set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. He is also aiming for 100% clean electricity by 2035.
"This is a critical step toward ensuring that our domestic nuclear fleet will continue providing reliable and affordable power to Americans as the nation's largest source of clean electricity," said U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. "Nuclear energy will help us meet President Biden's climate goals, and with these historic investments in clean energy, we can protect these facilities and the communities they serve."
According to the Department of Energy, nuclear power makes up about half of the United States' carbon-free electricity. Thirteen commercial nuclear reactors have closed since 2013. Each of which was a significant contributor to regional electricity, such as Fort Calhoun, which closed in 2016. The station, located near Omaha, was one of two plants responsible for generating about 26% of Nebraska's electricity.
Nuclear reactors that are facing the "most imminent threat of closure" are being prioritized for Civil Nuclear Credit Program funding, the Department of Energy said.