The proposal for Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant to install cooling towers costing up to $12 billion to get rid of “once-through” cooling is to be paid by ratepayers.
The whole facility cost $5 billion to $6 billion. It currently costs about a third of a billion dollars a year to run, with permits ending in 2025. The 40-year lifecycle cost is therefore about $18 billion, not counting decommissioning costs, a Fukushima-type event or nuclear waste storage for thousands of years, so the true cost is likely much more. All this, to provide electricity to 1 million homes.
For consideration: Put that same $12 billion into solar/photovoltaic for 1 million homes, with gas-fired power plants to cover diurnal variation. It would provide $12,000 per home, equal to about 13 panels (installed), a 2.53 kW AC system per home.
Diablo Canyon Power Plant will need to be shut down eventually. Before any decision on cooling towers is made, it is reasonable to look at alternatives and put other proposals on the table for discussion.
The ratepayers need to have a voice in this. After all, it’s their money.