NH #585: Diablo Canyon Nuclear: CA Legislators Blow it – but It’s Not Over

Diablo Canyon Nuclear: CA Legislators Blow it – but It’s Not Over

Diablo Canyon’s proximity to earthquake faults: what the CA legislature and Gov. Newsom ignored.

This Week’s Feature:

When the California legislature voted on August 31, 2022 to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility open for a minimum of another 5 years – which will probably end up being 20 – this setback wasn’t for lack of evidence as to why this was a bad idea. Activists from around the state, with national support, put forth compelling talking points, created petitions, made thousands of calls and emails to legislators to vote against bill 846 . But they were up against the nuclear industry’s millions of dollars, poured into a multi-year campaign to turn around the 2016 decision to shut it down, and who knows what incentives dangled in front of legislators eager for re-election funds,

But for whatever their reasons, legislators ignored crucial information, all of it verifiable, footnoted, and presented to them about Diablo’s dangers, weaknesses, history. The San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace held an online press conference in one final concerted effort to wake up the legislators and the media, and get out the talking points as to why Diablo needed to close on schedule, as planned since 2016. Here, we feature five of the speakers:

  • Cathy Iwane is co-founder of the Coalition for Nuclear Safety . In 2011, she and her family fled Japan to escape the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and moved to southern California, not knowing how close she was to the San Onofre nuclear reactors. She became active fighting for the closure of SanO and continued to work on the problems that came up during decommissioning and especially with the spent fuel canisters. Cathy and still lives in southern California.
  • Donna Gilmore used to live in southern California within five miles of the San Onofre nuclear reactors and founded San Onofre Safety. After Fukushima, when she realized her proximity and the dangers from that nuclear reactor, she became involved in shutting down San Onofre and working on other national battles. Donna is a wiz at doing research and crunching numbers, and here she provides insights into the myth that Diablo Canyon could be a long term reliable source of energy for California.
  • Daniel Hirsch. He is the retired director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and president of Committee to Bridge the Gap, a non-profit nuclear policy organization focusing on issues of nuclear safety, waste disposal, proliferation, and disarmament. In the press conference, which was on zoom, he shared slides showing earthquake faults and their proximity to the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors.
  • Arnie Gundersen is a licensed nuclear reactor operator with more than 50-years of nuclear power engineering experience. Now, as Chief Engineer for Fairewinds Associates, he testifies on behalf of states, municipalities, NGOs, and environmental organizations regarding the hazards and violations at nuclear reactors and atomic waste sites. Here, he builds on Dan Hirsch’s points about earthquake faults and speaks to another vulnerability at Diablo Canyon.
  • Harvey Wasserman is is a journalist, author, democracy activist, and advocate for renewable energy. He has been a strategist and organizer in the anti-nuclear movement in the United States for over 30 years, and he has insights to share about Diablo Canyon that the legislators completely missed.

You can watch the full press conference HERE.

Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness):

Food, glorious foooooood… but what about when it’s from Fukushima?

Nuclear Hotseat Hot Story with Linda Pentz Gunter:

Ukraine – who’s doing the shelling? At this point, does it really matter?

IAEA on site in Ukraine at Zaporizhzhia, examining the damage caused by the bombing on the roof of the special building which houses, among others, the new nuclear fuel and the solid radioactive waste storage. (Photo credit : IAEA)


Activist Shout-Out:

Here are those youth climate change activists in Wales, on the march across their country to spread the word: “Climate Justice cannot be achieved by nuclear energy.”