California senator wants to study impact of Diablo Canyon nuclear shutdown

Pacific Gas and Electric to submit to the California Public Utilities Commission an assessment of the adverse economic impacts that could affect San Luis Obispo County if the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant were to shut down has passed the California Senate’s Fiscal Committee.

The measure, Senate Bill (SB) 968, which was proposed by Sen. Bill Monning (D), was passed in a 7-0 vote on May 27.

Monning is the Senate Majority Leader in California. He introduced the measure in February.

Currently, Unit 1 of Diablo Canyon is licensed to operate until November, 2024, and Unit 2 is licensed to operate until August, 2025. PG&E has filed for a 20-year license renewal for the two 1,100 MW pressurized water reactors in Avila Beach, California.

“The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is a major employer and taxpayer in San Luis Obispo County and no one can say with any certainty if it will continue to operate in the long-term,” Monning has said. “The region’s economy is reliant on the plant and it is critical that we have information about the potential adverse economic impacts that could occur if Diablo Canyon closes either temporarily or permanently. Additionally, this information can be used to develop a regional economic mitigation strategy.”

Diablo Canyon has about 1,483 employees and PG&E is the largest property taxpayer in San Luis Obispo County.

SB 968 would require an independent third party to do the report, Monning said in a February news release. The report would have to be submitted to CPUC by July 1, 2018, according to a bill summary.

The measure is supported by a group called Californians for Green Nuclear Power.

Existing law requires CPUC to convene, or continue, until August 26, 2025, an independent peer review panel to conduct an independent review of enhanced seismic studies and surveys of the Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 power plant, including the surrounding areas of the facility and areas of nuclear waste storage.

Pacific Gas and Electric, a unit of PG&E Corp., is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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