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Jordan Cunningham introduces Assembly bill to explore use of Diablo desal plant

How Diablo Canyon’s desalination plant works

Terence East, field area manager with General Electric, talks about Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant's desalination plant, which is run by GE.
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Terence East, field area manager with General Electric, talks about Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant's desalination plant, which is run by GE.

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham announced Wednesday he has introduced a bill to commission a study on the feasibility of using the ocean water desalination facility at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant as a local water source.

If found feasible, the power plant’s desalination plant could be repurposed to provide the Central Coast region with drought-proof water, according to a news release from Cunningham’s office. Assembly Bill 457 was introduced Feb. 13.

In March 2016, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted to spend $900,000 to pursue plans for a pipeline to send 1,300 acre feet of excess water each year from the desalination facility to South County residents. That plan was scrapped in June when PG&E announced it would decommission the plant when its current licenses expire in 2024 and 2025.

Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors released its 2017 Legislative Platform, which identified access to water from the desalination plant as a priority.

“If nothing else, this drought has taught us that we need to diversify our water supplies, and we need drought-proof sources,” Cunningham said in a prepared statement. “As a first step, we should study whether it is feasible to repurpose existing water infrastructure. To me, it’s like recycling — it just makes sense.”

Matt Fountain: 805-781-7909, @MattFountain1

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