Rep. Carbajal Announces Support for a Diablo Canyon Power Plant Decommissioning Community Advisory Panel

Encourages community involvement during decommissioning of San Luis Obispo nuclear power plant

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Washington, DC, August 23, 2017 | comments

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24) wrote to Ed Halpin, the Senior Vice President, Generation and Chief Nuclear Officer for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), to express his support for a community advisory panel during the decommissioning of two nuclear reactors at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) in San Luis Obispo.

In accordance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) guidelines, once a power plant is set to be closed, the plant owners must initiate a decommissioning process to ensure facilities are removed safely and that residual radioactivity is reduced. While the Diablo Canyon plant is not due to be completely closed until 2025, the process has a tremendous impact on the local community and residents have already raised both interest and concerns in how the process will be undertaken.  

Establishing community advisory panels creates a platform for all stakeholders to exchange information, perspectives, and ideas throughout the decommissioning process. PG&E adopted this practice during the Humboldt Bay nuclear plant decommissioning and included an advisory panel in the Joint Proposal Agreement on the Retirement of DCPP currently under consideration by the California Public Utilities Commission. Southern California Edison established a similar panel for the decommissioning of its San Onofre Generating Station.

I believe a community advisory panel would give San Luis Obispo residents peace of mind and an opportunity to provide input on a process that directly affects them, fostering a stronger relationship between the power plant owners and surrounding community,” said Rep. Carbajal. “I am encouraged by PG&E’s historic and current commitment to include the community early in the decommissioning process and I am hopeful they will form a DCPP advisory panel as quickly as possible.”

Congressman Carbajal will also host an Informational Town Hall at the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors Chambers on Tuesday, Aug. 29 from 5:30pm-7pm. Experts from the NRC and PG&E will be in attendance to educate local officials and the public on the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant decommissioning process.

The full text of Rep. Carbajal’s letter is here and below:

August 23, 2017

Mr. Ed Halpin

Senior Vice President, Generation and Chief Nuclear Officer

77 Beale Street, 32nd Floor

San Francisco, CA 94105

Subject: Diablo Canyon Decommissioning

Dear Mr. Halpin:

Since Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Company announced its decision to retire the two nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) at the end of their current license period, my constituents have expressed concerns and interest in the decommissioning process. As part of the Joint Parties Agreement, I am encouraged that PG&E proposed a decommissioning advisory panel that could include industry experts, state and local government representatives, community representatives, and affected stakeholders to provide input regarding emergency preparedness activities as part of its 2018 Nuclear Decommissioning Cost Triennial Proceeding (NDCTP). I am writing to ask that PG&E consider forming the community advisory panel expeditiously, to benefit from the diverse set of ideas, and perspectives, and open a conduit of information between interested parties on all matters of decommissioning.

While not required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the establishment of community engagement panels for input into the nuclear power plant decommissioning process is a best practice adopted previously by PG&E at the Humboldt Bay nuclear power plant (HBPP), and most recently by Southern California Edison (SCE) to support decommissioning of its San Onofre Generating Station. Community engagement panels provide a platform to disseminate information, understand a variety of perspectives, and re-affirm the existing partnership between the nuclear plant owner and the local host community, a role that has provided both benefits and additional responsibilities.

Although Diablo Canyon isn’t slated to be closed until 2025, the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant has a tremendous impact on the local communities that host the facility. Therefore, it is essential that any decommissioning process be done in partnership with the families and residents who will be impacted by the closure, clean-up, waste disposal, and remediation of the plant. I commend PG&E for adopting this practice at HBPP and for their proposal to do so going forward at DCPP. I hope that PG&E can move forward in a timely fashion and set up a community advisory panel.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request. I look forward to working together on this issue of concern that impacts so many of my constituents in the Central Coast. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Sincerely,

SALUD O. CARBAJAL

Member of Congress 

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