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Public hearing on impending Diablo Canyon closure - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Public hearing on impending Diablo Canyon closure

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Dozens of community members attend a public hearing Thursday afternoon. Dozens of community members attend a public hearing Thursday afternoon.

For the first time, the public was able to voice concerns Thursday directly to the California Public Utilities Commission over the impending closure of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

Eleven elected officials and 32 public members took to a microphone to help the CPUC reach an informed decision.

Since PG&E announced its joint proposal back in June, it has held five public meetings to get feedback from the community. The application was filed in August. That started the state's review process, part of which happened Thursday.

Community members brought up pros and cons of the closure, including the economy, public safety and health.

"You can't replace a plant that provides power seven days a week with solar and wind, which provide power 20 to 30 percent of the time. You have to have power that can run the hospitals, schools and homes," said Michael Shellenberger, president of Save Diablo Canyon.

"It's old. It's kind of tired, I guess you could say. It's time for it to be retired. And it's time for the community to get together and figure out the next step as far as the economic vitality," said Jacquelyn Wheeler.

Now that it has heard from the community, the CPUC will decide what issues to consider.

PG&E wants to close down all electricity operations in 2025 and replace half Diablo Canyon's output with solar and energy efficiency.

PG&E has submitted a $50 million package proposal to help the community transition after 2025. The utility has also proposed a nine-year, $520 million employee retention and severance program.

Public meetings on how the planned plant closure will affect local schools will be held next week:

  • Wednesday, October 26, 6 p.m. at Laguna Middle School
  • Wednesday, November 2, 6 p.m. at Los Osos Middle School
  • Wednesday, November 9, 6 p.m. at Del Mar Elementary School
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