Supervisors decide to plan ahead in case of Diablo Canyon shutdown

San Luis Obispo County supervisors on Tuesday embraced the notion of conducting a study on how to keep the county on firm fiscal ground should the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant shut down.

A shutdown might never happen, David Weisman, outreach coordinator for the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, told the board. But the county should be prepared just in case.

The power plant has a substantial economic impact on San Luis Obispo County, especially the county government and the San Luis Coastal school district. It also employs hundreds of workers, and a shutdown would affect not only them and their families but also would ripple into the wider community — the stores where they shop, for example.

Weisman noted that other towns around the country have planned for a shutdown of their nuclear plants.

Supervisors Frank Mecham agreed that it’s better to plan ahead, a sentiment with which all the supervisors agreed. They asked County Administrator Dan Buckshi to look into it.

“I think Dan has direction to seek the means to do this,” Mecham wrote The Tribune in an email after the meeting. “How, when and who remains for him to let us know.”

Mecham and others stressed that they were not suggesting that the Diablo Canyon plant should shut down. “It’s a ‘what if,’ ” Mecham said.