Oct 17, 2013 7:40 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Diablo Canyon's economic impact

Cal Poly professors say Diablo Canyon contributes nearly $1 billion to the local economy every year, but what if Diablo shut down or did not extend its lease? That was the subject of discussion at this week's San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting.

There are two reactors at Diablo Canyon, one with a lease expiring in 2024, the other expiring in 2025. Diablo officials say they have applied to extend each license by 20 years, although the applications are on hold while PG&E studies a series of earthquake faults around the plant.

According to San Luis Obispo Supervisor Adam Hill, the county can survive without the plant; however, setting up a post-nuclear economic environment is crucial. He says the county cannot be dependent upon one private company. Instead, it would need a diverse community of innovative employers headquartered and hiring here.

Currently, Diablo provides more than 4,500 jobs with an average plant worker salary of about $137,000 a year.

Hill says high paying and secure head of household jobs like that are sparse in the county's private sector right now, an area they would like to see blossom over the next decade.

"The men and women that are making the monies to buy houses, to raise their family here, they have a way of generating even more income in the community but they also create a more diverse community," said Supervisor Hill.

He says Cal Poly has made great strides to put innovation and business creation at the forefront with programs like the SLO Hot House, which helps bring business ideas to life and keeps them local.

The economic study was conducted by two Cal Poly professors using data provided by PG&E on employment numbers, salaries, expenditures, and tax payments. In order to verify the accuracy of the study, an independent peer review was conducted by Cal Poly's College of Business.



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