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SLO City Council votes to explore intervening in Diablo Canyon closure

PG&E announced it will not pursue license renewal for the two reactors at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and will close it in 2025.
PG&E announced it will not pursue license renewal for the two reactors at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and will close it in 2025. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The San Luis Obispo City Council is looking into intervening in the state proceedings related to the closure of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The council unanimously directed city staff Tuesday to explore whether the city has sufficient legal standing to become an intervenor.

City Manager Katie Lichtig said the main criteria for becoming an intervenor is whether the city would be directly impacted by the plant’s closure.

“You can rest assured we are on this to the maximum extent,” Lichtig told the council.

Unlike the county and the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, which get millions of dollars in property taxes from Diablo Canyon, the impacts of the plant’s closure on the city would mostly be indirect. Most of the impact on the city would be in form of loss of jobs of city residents who live in San Luis Obispo.

The city would become the third agency to ask for a seat at the table with the California Public Utilities Commission as it processes PG&E’s plans to close the power plant in 2025 at the end of its two operating licenses. The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and the San Luis Coastal Unified School District have already intervened.

“We are treading on new ground here,” Councilman John Ashbaugh said.

The council also adopted five guiding principles regarding the city’s involvement in the plant’s closure:

▪  Ensure the continued safe operation of the plant and the health and safety of the community.

▪  Be involved in creating solutions that will lessen the short- and long-term financial impacts to the community.

▪  Investigate opportunities for job creation and economic diversification.

▪  Develop a plan to address the potential long-term impacts of closing the nuclear facility, including spent fuel management.

▪  Explore the future use of the land around the plant and related facilities.

“While these principles do not cover every possible opportunity or issue, they are envisioned to provide the broad outline that will be guidance for staff input and action,” Lichtig said in a staff report. “Major policy questions or issues outside of these principles will be brought to the council during this process as needed.”

In June, PG&E announced a joint agreement with labor unions and environmental groups to not seek license renewal for Diablo Canyon and shut the plant down in 2025.

PG&E has also offered to pay a financial aid package of $49.5 million to offset the loss of property taxes caused by the plant’s closure.

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