Closure of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant by 2025 effectively kills a plan for Diablo’s desalination plant to supply water to 4,000 homes in south San Luis Obispo County — a project that was widely hailed as a valuable tool for protecting communities during drought and unreliable state water deliveries.
“The desal project will have to be scrapped,” said San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill, whose district includes Diablo Canyon. “I think it has got to be taken out of the equation right now.”
PG&E, which operates Diablo Canyon, confirmed Hill assessment.
“This limits our use of desalination facilities to support plant operations,” said Blair Jones, PG&E spokesman. “Therefore, it is no longer viable to proceed with sales of desalinated water to the county.”
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The project, estimated to cost $22 million to $36 million, would have involved expanding the reverse osmosis system that supplies Diablo Canyon with fresh water for its operations. Seven miles of pipeline would have been installed from the nuclear plant to the Lopez Lake pipeline in Avila Beach, delivering up to 1,300 acre-feet of water to the cities of Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach, as well as the Oceano and Avila Beach community services districts.
In March, the county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to spend $900,000 for planning and permitting for the project, which was expected to take about two years to complete.
At the time, Supervisor Bruce Gibson called the project “an opportunity we can’t afford to miss,” while Hill said it was needed for a region in a “very fragile situation” because of limited water supplies.