No nuclear plant can be accurately described as “clean,” and most certainly not Diablo Canyon. Both the Unit 1 and Unit 2 reactors contain a thousand times the long-lived radioactivity of the atomic bomb that destroyed the city of Hiroshima in 1945, and the high-level radioactive wastes stored at the facility contain about 10 times that amount of deadly radiation. Contrary to the opinion of the author of “Keep Diablo Running,” all nuclear plants are fundamentally dirty. The high-level waste created by fission remains lethal for 250,000 years. Compare that to the origins about 6,000 years ago of the oldest known civilizations. What institutions can we expect to last long enough to safeguard these dangerous toxins long term?

When Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) signed the Joint Agreement in 2016 to shut down both units of Diablo at the end of current licenses, it stated that it did so because continued operation of the nuclear plant would undermine California’s renewable energy goals. Diablo cannot vary its output depending on consumer demand. Changing the output of a nuclear plant is too dangerous. So Diablo runs at 100 percent capacity except when closed for refueling, repairing leaking pipes, or replacing failing and outdated equipment. Solar and wind have to be turned off when overall supply exceeds demand. PG&E’s violation of its Agreement and its application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for new licenses to run Diablo for another 20 years until 2044 and 2045 threaten both the safety of those of us living downwind and the prospects of a clean energy supply for the state.

California can achieve a reliable energy supply without creating either carbon dioxide or radioactive wastes. Stanford University professor and author Mark Jacobson spells out the details in his best-selling book No Miracles Needed: How Today’s Technology Can Save Our Climate and Clean Our Air.

PG&E, close Diablo Canyon as you promised and get out of the way of a truly clean energy future.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.