Seats Open on Diablo Decommissioning Panel

Written by Estero Bay News

February 23, 2023

Pacific Gas & Electric is asking for applications from the greater community to fill some seats on the public panel that is working on the Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s decommissioning.

The panel is the company’s liaison with the public on the monumental work ahead in closing California’s last working nuclear power plant, a process that’s expected to take many years and cost several billion dollars.

The announcement comes as PG&E is also working with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on relicensing the plant, so it can run for 5-10 more years after its last license expires in Fall 2025.

“PG&E,” reads a news release by spokeswoman Carina Corral, “is continuing to plan for decommissioning the plant, while at the same time pursuing license renewal following State legislation that seeks to extend operations at DCPP to ensure electric reliability for all Californians.”

Last year, the Governor and State Legislature, which have been pursuing so-called green energy sources — mainly solar and wind farms — to push the State towards its ambitious goals in fighting climate change, voted to request that PG&E try to keep the plant open past 2025. 

Solar and wind by their nature are unreliable to meet electricity demand and require huge storage facilities to match up demand with supply.

The thought is to keep Diablo Canyon, which produces about 9% of the overall power used by Californians, operating for a while longer to give storage and generation projects time to get built and go on line.

The panel, which started in 2018, works on planning for the 12,000-acre plant property’s future. Already, PG&E has placed some 1,200 acres into a conservation easement. That easement property includes the historic Port San Luis Lighthouse. Diablo Canyon property spans some 14-miles of coastline.

PG&E said there are several panel positions up for appointment or reappointment and the application period ends March 7.

Anyone interested in serving on the panel can go to: diablocanyonpanel.org or pge.com/engagementpanel for applications.

“Current panel members not seeking reappointment,” Corral said, “including one PG&E representative, will select candidates who broadly reflect the diverse stakeholder viewpoints in proximity to DCPP.”

Among the issues the panel is holding hearings on is the future uses for the large property which features a variety of environments — from oak woodlands, to grasslands, coastal hills, terraces and bluffs, and rugged coastline with numerous offshore rocks. The property, which abuts Montaña de Oro State Park to the north, was also once home to many Native Americans over millennia. Their ancestors have requested the property be returned to them.

Public meetings occur regularly throughout the year, and are open to the public.

As for eligibility requirements, they must be “consistent with the Panel’s Charter,” Corral said, “elected officials, current PG&E employees and their immediate family members will not be considered eligible for community membership on the panel.”

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