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Panel to discuss managing nuclear fuel after Diablo Canyon decommissioning

Posted at 1:31 AM, Mar 13, 2019

The Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel is looking at ways to manage spent radioactive nuclear fuel for decades to come.

The panel is holding a public hearing Wednesday to talk about managing spent fuel, which is generated by past and future plant operations.

The hearing is slated to run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo County Government Center, which is located at 1055 Monterey Street. An open house session will be held from 6 to 6:30 p.m. and the public meeting will begin after.

The panel will talk about how and where to store spent fuel.

According to Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement member, Kara Woodruff, there is currently no permanent repository in the U.S. for spent fuel storage. Some proposals on the table include creating consolidated, privately owned, interim spent fuel storage facilities in places like New Mexico and Texas.

Woodruff says currently, spent fuel is placed in on-site pools and transferred to dry casks nearby several years later.

PG&E is looking into the latest technology. The utility says safe storage is the priority, and the company is also looking into the fastest ways to transfer fuel from wet to dry storage.

On Wednesday, the community panel will hear from PG&E, a member of the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee, and the public. PG&E will also provide an update on the overall decommissioning project.

The Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Panel is made up of community members who live in proximity to Diablo Canyon Power Plant, including in Atascadero, Avila Beach, Los Osos, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo.

The power plant is set to cease operations and begin decommissioning by 2025.