Whether you believe Diablo Canyon should be relicensed, or that evacuation plans are workable, or that the spent fuel in pools and casks is safe, one fact remains: Thousands of tons of high-level radioactive waste have accumulated on our Central Coast, and more will pile up during the remaining license and possible relicensing period.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has ruled this waste can remain on our seismically active coast for 60 years after the last megawatt is generated—which could be as late as 2105. Should it? The fate of this waste will be the subject of a day-long NRC workshop on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Embassy Suites hotel in SLO.
In our view, the NRC has made decades of bad decisions at Diablo, and that is why the Alliance has turned our back on the NRC’s current attempts to prove nuclear reactors are safe in a post-Fukushima world. However, without rehashing past and current regulatory shortcomings, we can raise issues about transport, security, costs, and public involvement in the decision-making process.
Dealing with permanent or even interim storage will be a huge and contentious undertaking, yet the NRC has no choice other than to more forward. Leaving highly radioactive waste on California’s seismically active coast is not an option. How and when we remove it will be a huge challenge—one where the Alliance wants a voice.