Nuclear energy ought to be classified as a “renewable energy” source says a member of California’s Legislature.

Really. This is not April 1st or a warp in time.

The debate is happening with the 2024 scheduled closing of the coastal Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant in mind. That plant has two 1,100 megawatt units. (Lots of power.) The plant accounts for nine percent of the state’s power. Carbon-free, by the way.

Said Jordan Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo. ‘Without nuclear as part of the renewable portfolio, we’re going to have tremendous difficulty meeting the state’s climate goals without a significant cost increase on electricity ratepayers.’” (Source)

Some climate scientists want Diablo Canyon to keep operating. Most Americans want to reduce the use of fossil fuels, says a 2019 Gallup poll.

California’s renewable standard calls for 60 percent of California’s electricity to be “renewable by 2030, 100 percent from carbon-free sources by 2045.

Nuclear leaves some waste so that means it cannot be classified as renewable, some say. Nuclear fuel can be reprocessed for future use.

On the other hand, wind generator blades are now being buried as waste. ECC has written about solar panel waste and recycling.

What is important is what we want to accomplish – purely renewable energy or carbon-free energy. If carbon-free is the answer, to impact the climate trajectory, then nuclear makes sense to be in the portfolio.

From a corporate standpoint, look at Duke Energy, which has traditional renewables and plans to renew its licenses for its nuclear plants. Smart.

Perhaps the label is just that, a label that allows certain policies to happen. So, “renewable” is what it is defined as being. We will watch California to find out.


Feature image from PG&E website