Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant
Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

Program to Ease Local Impact of Diablo Canyon Closure Rejected

Author: Administrative Office
Date: 11/8/2017 4:47 PM

A proposed decision filed today rejects a program that would safeguard local health, safety and economic impacts of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant’s closure. But County officials say there's still hope.

A proposed program that would safeguard local health, safety and economic impacts of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant’s closure was rejected today in a proposed decision by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

But local officials say there is still hope. The parties will submit two rounds of comments on the proposed decision before it goes to the commissioners on or after Dec. 14 for a final vote.

“This is disappointing, in part because our community overwhelmingly supported this effort to safeguard local public health, safety and economic stability,” said Assistant County Administrative Officer Guy Savage. “As we have said before, our community will suffer if we do nothing to ease the impacts of the plant’s closure. However, we are not giving up and are working with our community partners to develop the best path forward.”

The decision to reject the proposed Community Impact Mitigation Program cited concerns over fairness to the community and ratepayers, and determined that the mitigation funds are in-lieu of tax payments that must be approved by the Legislature. 

The commission’s proposed decision indicated that the County and its partners can pursue two options in the future, assuming the Commission adopts the proposed decision. Those options include a legislative approach, working with the State of California to create legislation that specifically directs this Commission to approve ratepayer funding for the Community Impact Mitigation Program, or PG&E can pledge shareholder funds to support the Community Impact Mitigation Program.

PG&E announced in June 2016 that it plans to close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant by 2025, but that the plant won’t be fully decommissioned for years afterward.  Soon after the announcement was made, the County took a lead role and intervened in the relevant proceedings before the CPUC. In November 2016, the County, a coalition of local cities, and local schools reached a multimillion dollar settlement agreement with PG&E to ease the local impacts of the plant’s closure.

The settlement agreement included a total of about $122.5 million to $147.5 million to address impacts to public health, safety and economic stability, which included:

  • A $75 million Essential Services Mitigation Fund to offset the potential negative impacts to essential public services provided to the community. This w be distributed to the County in nine equal annual installments through 2025 and the County will redistribute the funds to 71 local agencies whose budgets are impacted by the inevitable decrease in unitary tax funding from the power plant. The SLCUSD will receive the bulk of this funding.
  • A $10 million Economic Development Fund to ease the local economic impacts of the plant’s closure. The Coalition of Cities will receive $5.76 million, the County will receive $3.84 million, and the remaining $400,000 will be allocated for regional economic development activities. The cities receiving portions of the fund include San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Paso Robles and Pismo Beach. Each agency will issue an annual report, which describes how the funds are used and assesses the resulting economic development measures or programs. The reports will be available to PG&E, the CPUC and the public.
  • Continued funding of offsite community and local emergency planning efforts until all spent fuel is in dry cask storage and the two nuclear reactors are fully decommissioned. Total funding in this area could range between $37.5 million and $62.5 million over the course of 15 to 25 years.
  • An agreement from PG&E that it will not take actions or make decisions on the re-use or sale of land surrounding the power plant, including Wild Cherry Canyon, until PG&E has completed a site-specific decommissioning plan with input from the community.