Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant, circa 2010. Photo: JP Smith, public domain.


Well, here’s something that doesn’t happen every day: The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be holding a hearing at the Wharfinger Building from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. this evening, and it’s hoping that everyone comes out for the show.

As NRC staffers put it in the agenda:

This is a Category 3 meeting. Public participation is actively sought for this meeting to fully engage the public in a discussion of regulatory issues.

What’s on the agenda? The main purpose of the hearing seems to be to get feedback on the process that led to the decommissioning of the Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant. Specifically, they want go over how the local Community Advisory Board (CAB) assisted in the design of the decommissioning effort, and to take whatever lessons might be learned from that process back to Washington D.C. to guide the development of future community advisory boards in other areas.

But the commission has also set aside two hours for “feedback and questions from the public,” and that is looking to be of more interest to the general public. In a blog post, Jen Kalt of Humboldt Baykeeper — which sits on the local CAB — says that she and others involved with the board will be looking to get answers about the future, especially concerning the radioactive materials that have been “dry-casked” locally.

She writes:

  • The underground casks containing the spent fuel rods and dismantled nuclear reactor were designed to last about 50 years, and the PG&E Decommissioning Fund is only funded through 2025. What will happen after that?
  • What are the NRC’s plans in case of an emergency?
  • Who will maintain the site after PG&E is restructured or bought out in bankruptcy proceedings?

The Community Advisory Board will be there to ask these and other important questions, along with interested community members. 

Here’s the agenda for the meeting, and here’s a PowerPoint presentation outlining the research the commission is looking to conduct on community advisory boards and decommissioning. 

Again: The hearing will be held at the Wharfinger Building — 1 Marina Way, Eureka — from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight. The general “feedback and questions” part of the program is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.