A bill requiring an economic study on the impacts to San Luis Obispo County should the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant shut down before its federal operating licenses are slated to expire in 2024 and 2025 passed the California Senate Energy Utility and Communications Committee by a 9-to-0 vote. The bill is co-authored by senators Hannah-Beth Jackson and Katcho Achadjian, the San Luis Obispo Republican now vying to fill Lois Capps’s congressional seat next year.
The study would quantify the economic impacts of plant shutdown and identify alternatives and mitigations to soften the blow. PG&E, which owns and operates Diablo Canyon, supported the bill, which has been strongly backed by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, which opposes re-licensing the plant, citing a host of safety concerns.
Alliance spokesperson David Weisman said PG&E faces all but insurmountable hurdles in securing license extensions and argued that advance precautions need to be taken should PG&E shut Diablo Canyon down before the licenses expire, as has recently happened with nuclear plants in Florida and Wisconsin. “The best advice,” Weisman said, “is to let the air out of the blimp slowly.”