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Reacting to local reactors: Diablo Canyon Power Plant

Avila Beach Protest
Avila Beach Protest

According to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is a safe, clean, reliable and vital resource providing low-cost, clean electricity for nearly three million California homes.

Avila Beach Protest

With Chernobyl and Fukushima as proof, many Californians remain unconvinced that nuclear power can be a “safe and reliable” form of energy and are not willing to become the sequel in an earth-shattering trilogy.

A report by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) developed in 2010 stated that a reactor at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant operated for a year and a half with some emergency systems disabled. An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that “many of these significant events occurred because reactor owners, and often the NRC, tolerate known safety problems."

In addition to the plant’s emergency system instabilities, Diablo Canyon sits almost on top of the Hosgri Fault, which has the same dangerous characteristics as the fault outside of Sendai, Japan. According to PG&E, the plant has been built to handle a 7.5-level earthquake—does this ring a bell?

So, increasing regulations on nuclear power plants should solve the problem, right? If we have learned anything about regulatory agencies, and people in-general, it is that they are governed by special interests and cannot be looked upon as perfect. As such, if there is reason to question the safety and overall impact of a human-made process, the fail-safe solution is to simply stop it from occurring.

The SLO Mothers for Peacehas developed a petition to lobby for the suspension of all licensing for nuclear power plants. Currently, PG&E is attempting to front-load the plant’s re-licensing process and get approval quickly to operate the plant for another 20 years after it’s current expiration year of 2024.

If we are serious about putting an end to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), we must start with the ones that are in our own backyard.