At the request of PG&E, the San Luis Obispo City Council will send a letter urging the State Lands Commission to extend its lease with Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant to use an ocean intake and outflow structure that’s pivotal to the nuclear power plant’s cooling system.
The council held a special meeting Thursday to decide whether to send the letter, which PG&E representative Eric Daniels had requested at a council meeting Tuesday. The vote was unanimous, with Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson absent.
PG&E announced Tuesday that it will close Diablo Canyon in 2025 when the operating licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission expire for its two reactors. However, the lease with the State Lands Commission plays a key role because it is due to expire in 2018-19. PG&E is seeking to extend the lease until the NRC license expires in 2025. If the lease is not extended, the plant would be forced to close in 2018.
With Thursday’s vote, Mayor Jan Marx signed the letter on behalf of the council supporting PG&E’s lease extension with the State Lands Commission. The commission will consider the issue on Tuesday.
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The extension will give the city more time to determine the impacts of the closure of Diablo Canyon and “mitigate the negative impacts of the closure,” Marx wrote in her letter, which said the council first learned of the closure plan on Tuesday.
About 5 percent of the city’s workforce is employed by the plant, Councilman John Ashbaugh noted at Thursday’s meeting.
The plant has nearly 1,500 employees with an average annual salary of $157,000, according to 2014 figures.
In property taxes alone, schools and other government agencies will likely lose about $26.75 million in annual revenue once the plant closes — including a $9.5 million loss for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, and $8 million a year to the county.
Marx wrote that the plant closure will have a “lasting impact on our City and our region.”
“(A lease extension) provides for additional time for the city to analyze the impacts of the closure of (Diablo Canyon), understand PG&E’s future plans and assess ways to mitigate the local impacts, both regionally and specifically to the city,” Marx wrote. “The city would like to ensure that opportunities are provided to all impacted communities to propose possible additional mitigations or alternative solutions to what is currently included in the closure agreement.”
The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors also voted to send a letter to the State Lands Commission in support of an extension, chamber President Ermina Karim told the council during public comment.
A representative of the Economic Vitality Corporation also told the council that it had sent off a letter, which noted that Diablo Canyon’s employee wages amount to more than $235 million a year.
A sudden closure in 2018 without a lease extension would have a “sudden and devastating effect on our economy,” EVC President Mike Manchak wrote in the letter.