State Bill Introduced to Study Desalination Plant at Diablo Canyon

Could there be a future for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s desalination facility after all?

With no current plans for the desal plant once it closes in about nine years, California 35th District Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham has introduced new legislation in the hopes of changing that.

“To me, it’s just like recycling. We need a drought-proof water supply. We need to diversify our water supply,” said Cunningham.

Under the bill, the first step would be a study looking at the science and economics behind operating the desalination plant for San Luis Obispo County’s future use.

“My guess is, yeah, if we’re going to continue to operate the desal plant at a higher capacity, if we’re going to build a pipeline to convey that water to Lopez Lake so we can store it and use it locally, that that’s going to be a positive effect on jobs and the economy,” Cunningham continued.

These are similar to plans the county was previously working on with PG&E before the announcement the plant will be decommissioned.

That project was led by San Luis Obispo County 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill.

“Despite even with this rain season it would be a mistake to not be able to figure out how we can pursue that same project or even a bigger one,” said Hill.

But not everyone is in favor of this plan.

“To look at this facility as if it is an uncontaminated facility is not correct. It’s highly contaminated with radioactivity,” said Linda Seeley of San Luis Obispo Mother’s For Peace.

While Mother’s For Peace supports the closure of Diablo Canyon, it also says an Environmental Impact Report needs to happen for plans to move forward with the desal plant.

PG&E released this statement to KSBY:

“The legislation was just introduced and we will have to review it. We have taken no formal position at this time. Based on PG&E’s decision to retire Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP), we determined that offering desalination water for sale is not feasible. The company’s sole focus going forward at DCPP is the continued safe and reliable operation of the facility through the end of its operating licenses. PG&E will continue to honor the current agreement to supply the County with desalinated water in response to emergencies.”

State Bill Introduced to Study Desalination Plant at Diablo Canyon, by Alexa Bertola, KSBY, February 22, 2017.

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