U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal stressed caution in a statement after the California legislature passed a measure that would provide financial support to extend the lifespan of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant by five years.
The nuclear power plant is located near Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County.
“One only needs to step outside this week to be reminded of the critical need for California to be equipped to handle the increasing impacts of the climate crisis, including ensuring our power grid is prepared to deal with increased demand and that we do not move backward in our fight to decarbonize our energy sources,” said Rep. Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, in a news release. “But the right decision in a crisis, if made without adequate outreach and thought, can still be a wrong one. That is why, from the first suggestions of this extension in April, I have made it clear that consistent outreach to the Central Coast on the safety and environmental concerns was necessary to accompany this proposed extension.
“I appreciate the steps that have been taken to engage with our community in recent months, but this is not the end. In fact, there are still many decisions that remain to be made before the plant is approved for extended operations.”
“I believe the shorter-term extension approved by the legislature will help meet one of my top concerns: ensuring that this move does not jeopardize future renewable energy projects like our offshore wind lease in Morro Bay nor the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary,” Rep. Carbajal said. “But we must still see the full roadmap when it comes to obtaining a new license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and understand how PG&E intends to deal with the safety concerns related to this aging nuclear power plant and the additional nuclear waste that will be produced and housed in our backyard.”
“Lastly, extending the life of this power plant reminds us all that we need to redouble our efforts to get California fully reliant on renewable energy sources as quickly as possible. Long periods of heat and high energy usage like we’re seeing this week are the new normal. We can’t begin reversing climate change until we successfully transition to renewable energy, and I look forward to working with the governor and our region’s state legislators to achieve that goal.”
The congressman previously issued statements on the proposed extension of Diablo Canyon’s lifespan in July and April.
In both statements, he emphasized the need for any extension to include community input, to not hinder future renewable projects in the area, and to ensure proper safety and environmental processes are met.