Nov 3, 2013 7:42 PM by Lindsay MacLeod, KSBY News

Diablo Canyon looks at ways to reduce environmental impact

A state review group is currently looking at ways Diablo Canyon might comply with a state policy to reduce impacts from a process known as once through cooling.

The plant currently uses ocean water for cooling. The State Water Resources Control Board mandated that all power plants along the coast in California that use sea water for cooling have to reduce their environmental impact. The Board recommended PG&E hire a third party to come up with alternative systems. The Board wants Diablo Canyon to reduce its environmental impact by 93%.

According to PG&E spokesperson, Blair Jones, fish larvae sometimes get sucked up through the ocean water pipes that are used for cooling.

PG&E hired Bechtel, which came up with three potential solutions to reduce the problem: installing cooling towers, putting screens on the current pipes, or making the pipes go further offshore.

PG&E says the cooling towers option isn't feasible at the Diablo Canyon location because there are extreme environmental building challenges. According to Bechtel, installing the towers could cost up to $12 billion.

On Monday, a Review Committee is meeting in Sacramento to take a look at the options. The committee is made up of several agencies, including the California Coastal Commission, Central Coast Regional Water Control Board, and PG&E. In December, the State Water Resources Board will take a look at the review committee's comments. They probably won't pick an alternative until sometime next year.



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