Frameworks for managing the known vulnerability from sea-level rise to bluff erosion and exposure of Humboldt Bay nuclear power plant’s spent nuclear fuel storage site

Start/End: February, 2021 to January, 2022

The Humboldt Bay Power Plant is a former nuclear power plant that was shut down in 1976. Decommissioning, which began in 2008, is nearly complete. The site, located 115 feet away from Humboldt Bay, on a bluff 44 feet above sea level, continues to serve as storage for spent nuclear fuel. Plans for the movement this waste to an off-site storage location are not yet clear. The site is currently highly vulnerable to coastal erosion, sea-level rise, storm surge, and tsunamis, and there is no sea-level rise risk hazard mitigation plan either in the short or long term.

The aim of this project is to engage community and tribal partners in long-term risk mitigation planning, facilitating participatory decision-making processes. The goals are to share information about sea-level rise science and guide further actions to protect the site in a manner that reflects common interests and goals. The project will use scenario planning, directly involving diverse participants in a scenario planning exercise that results in a useful tool for decision makers, allowing them to understand the potential outcomes of various decisions under different possible futures and for different groups.

The results of the project will be developed in presentations for decision makers and academics, publications, and a public-facing website that will share public data and research findings, as well as a document repository for the public.