Org That Wants To Cut Carbon Emissions Sues To Close Zero-Emission Nuclear Power Plant

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An environmentalist nonprofit that seeks to cut carbon emissions and promote clean energy is suing to stop the Biden administration from funding a zero-emission power plant.

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced in January that it had approved a $1.1 billion credit payment to the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, a nuclear facility on the central California coast, to provide the plant with a path to avoid its planned shutdown in 2025. Though nuclear power plants produce negligible carbon emissions, Friends of the Earth (FOE), a group seeking to reduce carbon emissions, filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block the DOE’s funding, arguing that climate change could make the plant unsafe to operate due to flood risks and that earthquakes in the area could cause accidents. (RELATED: Enviros Cheered New York For Shutting Down Huge Nuke Plant. Then Emissions Jumped.)

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom had initially supported closing the plant, siding with environmental activists, the Associated Press reported. The governor, however, now backs the plant, reportedly seeking to avoid a repeat of the widespread blackouts that hit the state in August 2020.

DOE conducted a review assessing the environmental impact of the plant’s continued operation prior to approving the new funding. The review found that the plant “complies with Federal, state, and local environmental regulations, requirements, and agreements and operates using best management practices.”

The complaint filed by FOE also says that its “members also use and enjoy the central California coast, including the area around [Diablo Canyon Power Plant], and visit it regularly for activities such as fishing, boating, swimming and exploring tidepools.” FOE goes on to argue that its members’ ability to enjoy the coast is harmed by the plant’s continued operation, particularly its cooling system.

A photo taken on April 14, 2023 shows the nuclear power plant Isar in Essenbach near Landshut, southern Germany. - Germany will shut down its three remaining nuclear plants on April 15, betting that it can fulfil its green ambitions without atomic power despite the energy crisis caused by the Ukraine war. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Part of FOE’s mission includes promoting “policies and actions that will cut carbon emissions,” per its website.

Nuclear power plants, like the Diablo Canyon facility, do not directly produce carbon emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The amount of nuclear waste produced by America’s nuclear power plants in a given year would fill less than half the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, according to DOE.

Newsom seeks to transition California to 100% clean energy by 2045, according to the governor’s office. California would need to build 148,000 MW of new clean power by 2045 to meet this goal.

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant produces 9% of California’s electricity, according to DOE.

FOE and DOE did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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