"Nuclear Should Be Part Of The Future," PG&E CEO Says

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Apr 05, 2024 - 01:20 AM

On Wednesday, Patti Poppe, the chief executive officer of Pacific Gas & Electric, told a Stanford University forum that nuclear power should continue to be part of the state's power generation mix as efforts to decarbonize the grid move forward. 

"Nuclear should be part of the future," Poppe said, noting that the state's only nuclear power plant - Diablo Canyon - could be granted a license extension through the 2030s by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

"I expect there will be conversations, as the five-year window comes nearer and nearer, that maybe we should extend that further," Poppe said, adding, "I think that would be a good policy, to utilize a safe, high-performing asset for the state."

Bloomberg explained that California has moved "aggressively to transition to renewable power, but its heavy dependence on solar plants leaves it vulnerable to outages on hot summer evenings after the sun goes down." 

Electricity peak demand and energy growth rates are soaring in the Golden State (and the US as a whole) partly due to electrification trends and electric vehicles. 

On Wednesday, we penned a note titled "The Next AI Trade," underlining how AI data centers and industrial facilities will strain the US power grid.

For the states that have abandoned nuclear and fossil-fuel power in favor of unreliable wind and solar, well, there will be a historic shift back to nuclear power, as this is the only way to decarbonize grids with reliable and cheap energy. 

In December, regulators said the Diablo Canyon plant, owned by Pacific Gas & Electric, could operate through 2030 instead of 2025 to prevent rolling blackouts as the state shifts toward renewable power sources. 

We suspect the long-awaited - and overdue - restart of America's nuclear renaissance is finally materializing

Last month, the federal government announced that it would provide a $1.5 billion loan to restart a nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan. 

What is notable is not that the US is throwing some money at the nuclear power plant industry - since Washington sells $1 trillion in debt every 100 days, it may as well go full "Brewster's Millions" (or rather "Trillions") and spend it all asap; it is that this would be the first nuclear power plant to be reopened in the US, setting a precedent as atomic energy makes a triumphal comeback.

"There is more enthusiasm toward nuclear power — in Congress, in the industry and also internationally," said Najmedin Meshkati, an engineering professor at the University of Southern California who has inspected nuclear plants around the world.

Nuclear energy is in the spotlight. Thirty-four countries, including the US, pledged to use it last month to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. 

America's nuclear renaissance is here.

In December 2020, we told readers, "Buy Uranium: Is This The Beginning Of The Next ESG Craze?"