October 6, 2022
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Our View: Diablo Canyon debate could give anyone whiplash

IN THIS ARTICLE

If the debate over the closing of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant comes down to litigation, we’d support any claim by any municipality that alleged a traumatic injury from political whiplash.

It certainly is true that the revival of Diablo Canyon from certain closure to the likely probability that its license will be extended beyond 2025 is one of the most remarkable public policy developments in the recent history of the Central Coast.

Looking at the dramatic impact of climate change on available hydropower and the difficulties of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables, the case can be made for a license extension for the last nuclear facility on the West Coast.

Add to that the massive incentives proposed for keeping the plant open, delays in building transmission lines elsewhere and the example of Europe, which is doing its own nuclear rethinking, and a Diablo Canyon extension seems likely.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing for $1.4 billion in state funds to keep the plant open. At press time, the Legislature hadn’t acted on his request yet, but we won’t hesitate to put in our two cents about extending the life of the plant’s twin generation stations.

First, any extension should have a sunset date. Indefinite extension is an excuse for California to not do its job in permitting alternatives, including transmission lines and battery storage facilities.

Second, the Central Coast should be made whole for any delays in terms of support for schools and other benefits of hosting the nuclear facility.

Third, any extension should begin a countdown on a well-funded decommissioning plan that takes into account rising costs for labor and equipment, transportation risks and the safety risks involved in extended and storage. One silver lining is that new technologies for transport, storage and disposal of radioactive waste may be available when the time comes.

Diablo Canyon extension isn’t popular in some communities. But if it is allowed to happen, it should be considered an opportunity to accomplish the future decommissioning safely, on time and on budget.

And this time, the state won’t have any excuse for not adequately planning how it will replace the carbon-free power the plant provides.

CONGRATS TO CLASS OF 2022

We are introducing the 22nd Class of 40 Under 40 in the current edition of the Business Times.

This is a younger and more diverse class than any of its predecessors, and it means that some 880 young people from up and down the Central Coast have now been honored since we launched our program in September 2001.

One of our original 40 Under 40s, Sonos founder John D. MacFarlane, has already made it into our Business Hall of Fame. MacFarlane, Harold Edwards at Limoneira, Ali Bauerlein at Inogen, Michael Castagna at Mannkind, Jeff Green at The Trade Desk and others have made it into the C-suite at large, public companies.

Since we launched 40 Under 40 for the Central Coast early in the 21st century, we’ve been copycatted and imitated. But no one can claim our track record of success.

We’re always impressed by our incoming class of 40 Under 40s and we’re excited about what we can accomplish together.