Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a longtime nuclear-energy critic, said in June she had changed her mind about California’s last nuclear plant, at Diablo Canyon. Closing it, she said, makes little sense “under these circumstances.”
Even before the current global energy crisis, experts warned for years that nuclear phaseouts like Germany’s would crunch energy supply at a time when countries are shifting from fossil fuels to meet climate mandates. Nuclear energy has been on the decline for decades. In 1996 it provided about 17% of global energy production; today it’s around 10%. After the 2011 Fukushima accident, anti-nuclear sentiment swept the world, with Japan and Germany leading the way to complete nuclear phaseouts. In the U.S., 12 reactors have been closed since 2012. The Energy Information Administration projects that the nuclear share of American power generation will decline to 11% by 2050, from 20% today.