Radiological decontamination and decommissioning of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California should be completed within a decade of its permanent retirement, a community panel recommended this week.
“The decommissioning (decontamination) process should begin immediately upon shutdown with a goal of 10 years for completion of radiological decommissioning and decontamination, avoiding SAFSTOR (which allows up to 60-year delay in decontamination),” the Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel said in a report outlining its “strategic vision” for the site’s future.
Utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) intends to shut down the San Luis Obispo facility’s two reactors as their Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses expire: respectively on Nov. 2, 2024, and Aug. 26, 2025. In a decommissioning cost report filed with the state in December, PG&E said it would expedite cleanup of the property.
At the time, the company said it expected to need 12 years and nine months to complete license-termination activities, not covering ongoing management of the plant’s spent fuel storage pad. Decontamination and dismantlement, spent fuel management, and site restoration are expected to cost $4.8 billion.
The 12-member panel of local residents, one representing PG&E, is intended to provide community input on the power plant. Among other recommendations in the strategic vision report, the Engagement Panel urged consideration of repurposing some facilities at Diablo Canyon to reduce waste and promote economic development, and to ensure the 12,000 acres around the site are conserved and kept available for public use.