How will losing Diablo Canyon impact SLO County?

August 26, 2018

OPINION by ZOE DUTY

With the impending closure of Diablo Canyon, I’m starting to get worried about what this really means for San Luis Obispo County.

Over 1,500 jobs will be lost when Diablo Canyon is gone. This not only impacts the lives of those workers and their families, but it also impacts the small business owners in our area who rely on local customers.

Likewise, the loss of tax revenue to our county could hurt our ability to receive things like a speedy response to an emergency.

That’s something I’m particularly worried about. We live in a fire-prone area; our neighbors just to the north of us are battling one as I type this. What happens when funding is cut to fire protection or public safety?

Public safety isn’t the only thing that will suffer. We have some of the best school districts in the country. What happens to our schools when the education budget gets slashed by millions of dollars?

With Lockheed Martin and Weatherby leaving SLO County and our new ranking as a top 10 worst place to open a business, I’m concerned that we may not recover if we keep losing businesses and hurting our economy.

Zoe Duty is an Atascadero resident.


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Shocked in MB

I may be going out on a limb here, but I do believe that most people who push for these closures etc are people who work in the Public Sector or the Educational field. Most other people are well aware of the huge impact these things cause to our economic way of life when they close down.


The Public sector and educational field just believe that things will go along their merry way after the closures happen. SLO has such a non existent economy except for those 2 areas. Everyone else works for some small business that survives from day to day.


Look at Morro Bay. The naysayers did not want the power plant to continue. Well, it is now closed Every single meeting in the city is about how to try to save pennies wherever possible.


Tourism is only good when people have lots of money to spend. Remember it is a Leisure industry. Maybe the tourists will come just to see the roped off area where we citizens will look like a version of ‘Naked and Afraid’ while we rub sticks together to make fire.


obispan

The Sierra Club advocated for nuclear power to eliminate pollution and selected the Diablo Canyon site as the least impactful location. PG&E wanted to build cheaper on the Nipomo dunes. Diablo Canyon works perfectly with the Helms pumped storage project where the power goes in the middle of the night, solar, not so much. The “Mothers” for Peace were an anti-war group from the Vietnam era. When the war ended they had nothing to do, so they characterized nuclear power as nuclear weaponry. They said Diablo could go off like a nuclear megaton bomb at any time. One of the leaders stopped raising her own children who became terrors of the neighborhood, Rae-something on Chorro Street.


rukidding

Well like they say you get what you asked for. Protest after protest demanding that Diablo Nuclear Plant be closed. And then you have that cause that every action has a reaction. Put this together and you have a closed nuclear plant and the loss of tax income. No one should have had to been brilliant to figure that one out. The complete closure of the plant will take years and years and just like any other hazardous waste that is found the government will find a way to get into their pocket books, which is the rate we pay, to gain a profit. The county, and cities, have told us about the windfall in taxes that we will be seeing from the marijuana industry. Along with the marijuana tax maybe it’s time to start taxing the wine tasting industry and breweries who are also distributors and eventually all of this tax issue may just become a push. At times most of us have had to adjust to lifestyle changes as different industries have changed the way they do business. Did anyone want to help us out financially-NO. It’s just that PG&E has big pockets, we the rate payers, and the government just wants to get their fingers into it. Well I know what I would like to do with my finger about all of that.


CentralcoastRN

Well, let’s just do the math and follow common sense.


1. The “average” salary at Diablo is about 72k/year. I personally know someone that makes well over 100k/year. Source: https://www.simplyhired.com/salaries-k-diablo-canyon-power-plant-jobs.html


2. The average solar installer jobs currently being advertised pay $16/hr. That equals about 31k/year. Source: https://www.indeed.com/m/viewjob?jk=fbad8ed0858f246a&from=serp&prevUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.indeed.com%2Fm%2Fjobs%3FsameL%3D1%26q%3DSolar%2BFarm%26l%3Dcalifornia%26from%3DsearchOnSerp


3. Less income = less taxable revenue, less liquid assets for spending at local businesses. Restaurants, beach side tourist shops, ATV shops, etc will have less local business.


4. Less tax revenue= less jobs in government. Current “living wage paying” government type jobs: CMC and ASH, Education (teachers, etc), County and City jobs, police/fire.


5. Less living wage jobs= more families in substandard housing or no housing, families “doubling up” or moving in with parents, more families moving out of the county due to lack of affordability.


I anticipate continuing decreasing of quality of life concerns. The economy has been slowly imploding over the past 50+ years. Honestly though, how can we ask 550k for a starter home when salaries are $16 an hour? You need to make 3 times the rent to be qualified for housing, and yet the employers who may pay enough to allow for affordable living are moving. Help me understand…


kettle

Decommissioning will take decades, plenty of jobs. Most of the 1500 will transfer, work on the decommission or retire. California has problems, this is small fry.


“I anticipate continuing decreasing of quality of life” It is called FUD and it’s socially infectious, getting people all worked up.


AmericaTheFree

From what I’ve read it takes more employees to decommission a plant than it does to maintain one, right? So actually SLO will have more people on the payroll at Diablo then they do now, which will be of financial benefit to SLO, giving them time to research and find other alternatives to the lost income.


CentralcoastRN

More like common sense and basic budgeting/mathematics. Smart people look ahead, like a chess player would. I think SLO County residents and our political leaders should be planning and thinking about the potential impacts. 


As for the decreasing quality of life, that’s a fact. It’s not FUD. My uncle worked at a tire shop when he bought his house 45 years ago. My aunt wasn’t working. Same with my parents. Now 2 college educated professional have a hard time making a living on the Central Coast with today’s wages and today’s cost of living. 


rukidding

You mention tourism and the loss. We have been told, regarding any sales tax increase, that tourism pays approximately 70% of the sales tax. So if you want to promote tourism for it’s money, you are going to make SLO a desirable place. Like anything else that is desirable it costs more. One solution would be that those who are the recipients of this vast tourism dollar be ones required to pay the so called living wage and not the poor little guy who is just trying to survive. The only ones who are really crying about Diablo are the schools and government-the two most wasteful organizations that exist.


CentralcoastRN

Oh, we will ALL pay. Any SLO county resident will pay in sales tax, property taxes, increased utility rates. All Californians will pay more for utilities, especially electricity.


The issue that really worries me about actually having enough power to provide homes with electricity. Diablo’s closure will mean we would need a solar farm that could create 14 times the power Topaz Solar does JUST TO BREAK EVEN from Diablo’s closure. I worry about things like rolling blackouts. Better start investing in candles and solar stakes, solar powered chargers for cell phones. 


Rich in MB

“our new ranking as a top 10 worst place to open a business”


What the Leftists are about to find out is that without “evil Business” and their “evil profits” there are no tax dollars and leftist projects like Bike Paths and Green Areas turn into Homeless camps.


DocT

Diablo is closing.

Isn’t this what everyone wanted since back even before the “No Nukes” album came out and Robert Blake was drunk and disorderly at Diablo Canyon? This is great! Our children will all be 3 inches taller, better looking, healthier and with 20 points tacked on to their IG just because they aren’t near Nuclear Power, which is evil, Amen. .


This is easy to solve: Just make more City and County jobs and get more people working for CalTrans. That will bring those high-paying jobs back to the county and keep evil, tax-paying vultures like PG and E out.


DrGeneNelson

Thank you Zoe Duty for your opinion article. Adverse CPUC Intervenor Californians for Green Nuclear Power, Inc. (CGNP) has been fighting to protect the region’s economy and the environment by contesting PG&E’s proposal to voluntarily abandon Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) in 2025 for more than two years. That is why when the status of PG&E Application A1608006 is reviewed at the CPUC website, the status “REOPENED” is shown. . . . . .


CGNP’s written documents in this Proceeding are on a par with PG&E’s – with the inputs of four Ph.Ds. whose degrees are related to nuclear power generation. CGNP has filed about 1,500 pages overall in this proceeding. The core of CGNP’s arguments are PG&E’s sworn filings in their 2010 CPUC Application for cost recovery of the roughly $1 billion they spent preparing DCPP to operate safely to 2045. CGNP anticipates prevailing on merits when the case is heard in the State of California Appeals Court system. We have an excellent legal team led by former 4-term CA Assemblyman Mike Gatto. . . . . . CGNP would like to be able to explain this complex story to CAL COAST NEWS readers. CGNP will be at the Annual DCPP safety review by the NRC from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Tuesday, 28 August 2018 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo. You will recognize us by our green “Friends of Diablo Canyon” t-shirts. CGNP also has a (green) booth near Mother’s Tavern on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays each month at the SLO Farmer’s Market. Our website is CGNP dot org. Look for us on Facebook. Please contact me via email at Government [at] CGNP dot org.


CentralcoastRN

I did indeed go to the website. I read an article you wrote for the local newspaper and will summarize what I found HIGHLY interesting:


2014-2015 ish annual power generated:

Tera watt hours produced by Diablo Canyon: 18 

Terawatt hours produced by Hoover Dam: 3.5

Terawatt hours produced by Topaz Solar Farm in east SLO County and one of the largest in the world: 1.301 


Also, Diablo produced 131% more power than wind power in CA.


Not only does the economy need Diablo, the State of California needs Diablo to produce the power needed for us. Crazy that we’re just gonna close the plant with no real plan how to replace the lost power.


kettle

Annual output is not a measure of cost effectiveness and nukes will never be cost effective in the US ever again (with a few edge cases). We don’t even know how much the bill will be to dispose of the spent fuel.


There is a plan and it’s happening, the lights won’t go out when it’s shut down. Not crazy. it’s industry FUD.


AmericaTheFree

Doc! From the CGNP site:

– “Earthquake: Fear of failure of key safety systems due to earthquake has been the most common fear throughout the history of this plant. Here in California, there is no spot free of faults and the risk of seismic activity. We live with it.” –

Some of us, no most of us, aren’t comfortable with the “live with it” statement right after saying “there is no spot free of faults and the risk of seismic activity”. To me it reads that you’re willing to risk my health and well being on pure unadulterated conjecture, and, blind ass hope! Not good science, not at all!

– “The greatest threat is unreinforced buildings. Diablo Canyon is one of the most strongly reinforced buildings in the world, engineered to withstand enormous quakes and to not only remain standing but intact and completely functional.” –

There is no such thing as an “earthquake proof structure”, you know that as well as anyone, or should, as you’re a scientist. What is an “enormous quake”? Can you give me the Richter Scale, or on the more accurate Mw Scale, on “enormous” as compared to say “locally devastating”, or the “largest on record”? We all know of buildings and structures engineered to withstand enormous adverse events well above what would be considered “normal” of what is actually needed and have failed, i.e. World Trade Center, Hyatt Regency walkway, New Orleans Levees, and I could go on-and-on (and that’s just in the U.S.). Do you see how “engineered to withstand” doesn’t translate to “guaranteed to withstand” or “it won’t fail”? Engineered actually means “man made” in this context and we all know how anything man made is bound to fail, sometimes sooner rather than later, right? And, sometimes it’s even in the “engineering” to fail.

I respect you, I respect your science, but what I don’t respect is how you can be so cavalier about my health and well being on conjecture and “live with it” all the while science is being updated daily with “new science” that disapproves the prior.

One things for sure though, you don’t mess with Mother Nature! And if you do? You’ll lose every frickin’ time!


AmericaTheFree

One other thing Doc? Maybe you can explain this away, maybe…


https://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/08/27/nuclear-dangers-fukushima-diablo-canyon


AmericaTheFree

Sorry Doc! Age has a way of creepin’ up on you… Just one more thing and I’ll leave it at that…

Cuesta College, including your department, has been the beneficiary of well over $100,000 dollars in “grants” from, wait for it, PG&E, right? PG&E also “partners” with Cuesta’s Department of Electronics and Electrical Technology, a department that offers a Certificate of Specialization in Nuclear Energy Systems certification, right? I wonder if that just might sway your “science” just a bit, and I wonder how it would effect your department if you either didn’t agree with their assessment or Diablo closes? I also wonder if CGNP garners any dollars from PG&E, care to enlighten all of us on that?

If nothing else there appears to be a proof positive conflict of interest here, don’t you think? And suggests that, again, corporate America has indeed invaded are classrooms to spread it’s own particular agenda to insure it’s profits for generations to come, don’t you think?!!!

https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/how-the-system-works/diablo-canyon-power-plant/news-and-articles/pge-partners-with-cuesta-college-and-cal-poly-to-train-students-for-careers-in-energy.page


Side_Show_Bob

Hey, Morro Bay will be getting another a t-shirt shop or two pretty soon. That ought to cover the loss, right?


PBS

How about we build another nuclear power plant?


Rich in MB

That is a sane and logical question, but today’s left doesn’t have anything to do with sanity and logic.


AmericaTheFree

The “left” has no sanity or logic? And you compare that to what? The “right’s? Excuse me while I laugh my butt off for a half hour or so!


kettle

No longer cost effective. Also add 25% for the tariffs on materials.