Transportation of Non-Radioactive
and Low-Level Radioactive Waste Materials

Decommissioning of the DCPP will involve the shutting down and demolition of multiple structures and facilities on the plant site.  A majority of the demolished materials will need to be transported away from the plant site and disposed at landfill sites in conformance with local, state and federal regulations. 

Traditional demolition waste such as concrete, metal, building materials, aggregate and glass, or clean waste (no detectable radiation) are proposed to be removed from the plant site, as is low-level radioactive waste (items that have become contaminated with radioactive material or have become radioactive through exposure to neutron radiation).  Relying solely on trucks for removing waste materials from the power plant site (excluding the breakwater and spent fuel) would entail an estimated 70,000 2-way truck trips.

Risk Analysis

Public comment to the DCDEP from neighboring communities and the county at large revealed a concern about the impacts of only using trucks to move demolition materials through the county.  Due to these concerns, the DCDEP requested that PG&E consider alternative transportation routes and methods (including truck, barge and rail) for removal of the demolition materials.  In response to this question, PG&E collaborated with the B. John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences of UCLA to conduct an analysis of risks associated with, among other things, removing waste materials from the power plant by barging instead of trucking. 

UCLA’s Garrick Institute completed the report entitled “Transportation Risks Associated with the Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants: Methodology and Application to Diablo Canyon Power Plant” in May of 2020. 

In general, the analysis found that barging had the lowest risk compared to trucking and rail transport, rail transport is less risky than trucking, leaving the breakwater in place reduced overall risk by almost 50 percent and a combination of barging and keeping the breakwater in place lowers the fatality risks by more than 40 percent, with a corresponding reduction in injury risk of 32 percent and accident risk of 9 percent.

A summary of the report from the DCDEP and the text of the full report can be found here:

Public Meeting on Transportation of Non-Radioactive/Low-Level Radioactive Waste Materials

On June 24, 2020, the DCDEP held a public meeting covering the topic of the transportation of non-radioactive materials and low-level radioactive wastes.  Included in the public meeting were presentations from PG&E on the 2018 NDTCP proposed modes, routes and volumes of waste; the UCLA Garrick Institute on the Transportation Risk Analysis; the County Planning and Public Works.

The June 24, 2020 public meeting video and presentation materials can be found be following this link:

Vision Statements

  • The highest level of safety regarding the transport of demolition materials off-site should be ensured
  • The methods chosen for transporting materials off site should minimize impacts to the surrounding communities and the environment
  • The waste materials should be reused on-site in order to minimize the quantity needed to be removed in order to complete decommissioning


  1. The transportation of demolition waste materials should be completed ensuring the highest levels of safety for workers, residents, visitors and the environment
  2. The transport of demolition waste materials should use best practices and best technologies, so as to reduce the impacts of traffic, noise, dust, and other factors on workers, residents, visitors and the environment
  3. The various methods to transport demolition waste materials should be explored, including by rail and barge
  4. The exploration of keeping and re-using clean demolition waste materials on-site to the maximum extent feasible should be considered to minimize the amount of waste that needs to be transported off-site


  1. Recommend that PG&E propose and use the safest method of transport for demolition waste materials in order to minimize risk and disruption to local communities, with consideration of the cost to ratepayers, including use of barges and trucking only during dates and times to avoid peak traffic
  2. Recommend that PG&E include a feasibility and cost analysis of barging demolition waste materials in the 2021 NDTCP
  3. Recommend that any regulatory agencies that review the decommissioning land use permit or any other necessary permits evaluate all measures to fully mitigate the impacts of transporting demolition waste materials off-site, including a full exploration of barging and allowing trucking only during dates and times of day of lowest traffic volumes
  4. Recommend that PG&E reuse as much demolition waste materials on-site as is practically feasible in order to minimize the amount of materials that need to be transported off-site
  5. Recommend that PG&E work with the CPUC, State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission to allow for retention of the breakwater to limit the amount of demolition materials created in order to minimize the numbers of truck/rail/barge trips necessary for removal from the site
  6. Recommend that the CPUC direct PG&E implementation of the preceding recommendations
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